When you are 5-years-old on your first day of kindergarten, you wanted to make as many friends as possible. You got along with everyone in your class and played with a lot of kids. But even at the age of 5, you think back and remember the few friends that stood out to you. Like the neighbor kid from your childhood that you traded Pokemon cards with. Or your first friend you made being the new kid at a new school. Or those you survived high school with when you embarrassed yourself in front of the cute guy you crushed on. Those are the people you remember. You remember their kind words and the memories, not how many friends you tried to collect throughout the years.

As you become an adult, you don’t think of a simply a number that stuck by you during your first broken heart or your first year away from home. You care about the friend that knows that when you are nervous, you wiggle your nose. You care about the friend that brings you Snickers bars when they know it’s your time of the month. You care about the friend that held your hair back when you drank just a little too much rum. You have a vent session to the friend that tells you that you are enough. You care about the friends that care about you when sometimes you can’t care about yourself. You care about the friends that stay by your side through thick and thin.

It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, it matters how many of those friends would be there through the bad, and visa versa. I am not a person of many friends, but each one I have is there for me when I need it. Those friends that you can have deep conversations with that no one else would understand. Those friends that go on drives with you at 1 a.m. so you could clear your head. Those friends that listen to you with no judgment at all. Those are the friends I have, and I don’t have many. But those are the only ones I need.

In middle school, it mattered how popular you were. When you were 12, it mattered what people thought of you. It mattered how many friends you had. The more friends you had, the more people liked you. That is what we thought back then. But as you grow up, you come to find that a lot of those friends really weren’t friends at all. When the shit hits the fan, and those so-called friends aren’t sitting next to you with a gallon of ice cream and boxes of tissues, they aren’t your friends. You find out who your real friends are as you grow up. Those who stay, those who answer your phone when you are having a mental breakdown... those are the only friends you need.

Who cares how many friends you have? Life is not a popularity contest. Surround yourself with people that have your back and that you can immediately call when your car just broke down on you. Surround yourself with people that love you and are a part of your support system. The friends that know you more than you know yourself are the ones that you need to keep close. The friends that you can go months without seeing but feel like you were never apart the next time you see them are the most valuable. Choose your friends wisely. For my friends reading this, you know who you are. Thank you for being my random phone call when I need to talk to someone, the person that goes on late night car rides, the ones that goes on Taco Bell runs with me, the person that paints with me, the one that enjoys a drink with me, and for just dealing with my crazy ass. You are the reason I stay somewhat sane.