One Friendship And Two Milestones

One Friendship And Two Milestones

Celebrating 10 years of friendship and a 20th birthday

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It all began 10 years ago. I was in a babysitting club at a gym near my hometown. While waiting for my mother to pick me up, I witnessed this kid with short hair, who looked my age. Without hesitating, I shortly went over to him to introduce myself and asked what his name was. "Alex," he responded.

Shortly, he told me he was moving to Robbinsville. A developing community located in Central Jersey, where I once called home. I'll never forget, after Alex said that, the excitement inside me rose. There was a house for sale in my neighborhood at the time. At that moment, I thought we would possibly be neighbors. We had a few short conversations after that. Momentarily, his brother came to pick him up. I then questioned his brother what part of the town they were migrating to. Unfortunately, it wasn't my neighborhood.

Three months later, school began. It was the start of fifth grade. I sat down at a lunch table with my friend Bryan. There he was, entering the cafeteria with a mutual friend. Despite meeting a few months prior, we introduced ourselves again. After that, I introduced Alex to my friend Bryan. And then, the friendship took off.

From our fun memories at Six Flags, the movies, each other's houses, to our unforgettable times at Montclair State University, in honor of his 20th birthday and almost a decade of friendship, here are my top favorite memories with Alex.

1. Attending a taping of "The Tonight Show"

In the 10 years, we have been friends, two places we never met at are the beach and the city. Finally, just a few weeks ago, we did something new. With a couple other friends, we met in the city and saw a taping of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." From the time we met outside Penn Station to when the show concluded and we had to vacate 30 Rock, there were no dull moments between us.

2. Going to Montclair State University

Although we might be on busy schedules and don't see each other as people might think we do, whenever we meet up at school, it's always a great time.

3. Our trips to Buffalo Wild Wings

What started as a father-son day with our friends eventually became a place where we would go to celebrate my birthday or as a last minute get together before him, I, and the rest of our friends head back to school

4. Riding roller coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure

Before I had a part-time job there, I was a season pass holder. So was Alex, along with the rest of our friends. Whether it was at hot summer day, sixth-grade field trip, or a weekend during Fright Fest, we never failed at getting our thrills up there. We even once rode The Great American Scream Machine(now the Green Lantern) six times in one day. Surprisingly, nobody got dizzy after doing that.

5. Our various trips to the movies

Although we haven't hung out at the movies together in a while, growing up, aside from Six Flags, this was one of our favorite places to hang out. The very first movie he and I saw together was Bolt at our friend Bryan's eleventh birthday party. Eventually, that lead to meeting up at the movies more and seeing many others.

6. Having sleepovers

We didn't have as many of these as you would think however, we did on certain occasions. Whether it was after a middle school dance, for somebody's birthday party, or just to hang out, whenever we had them, there was always great times and some competitive ones(aside from watching a movie or videos on Youtube, video games always served as the biggest entertainment source). Sadly, Mario Kart, Call of Duty, and Quake Live didn't keep us up all night as we hoped they would.

7. Prom

This was one of our more fancier dances considering, we actually had to dress fancy for it. It was also the only high school dance that each of us went to wearing blue (I was the only one wearing a different shade of the color).

8. Formal

For most people I graduated high school with, this was the hardest year of middle school. Despite the challenges, it brought one of the things everyone looked forward to, formal. A dance that is held at the end of the school year where all the eighth graders get dressed up and get ready to say goodbye to middle school as it usually falls a few days before graduation. For Alex and I, it was a special time since this was our first dance we got to hang out at with our entire friend group.

9. Semi-Formal

Both of us weren't planning on attending. And then we heard the news. He and I were nominated as kings of the court. So, after doing some thinking, our plans changed. What we thought wasn't going to be that great, turned out to be not so bad after all.

10. Going to Friendly's when we had half days in middle school

On a half day, when the bell rang and it was time to head home, middle schoolers flooded Friendly's. For many years, it became the hotspot for teens to meet their buddies for lunch, when they didn't have a full day of school. On a cold winter day in February 2010, it soon became our tradition. What started off as a place we met for lunch on a day off from school, became a place we would go and eat with the rest of our friends on the last day of school. From those moments spent laughing while waiting for our food, to the time one of our friends accidentally left his report card there, there is no doubt that Friendly's had an impact on us before Buffalo Wild Wings did.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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