"You feel like you don't feel like anyone's number one person. Is that true?"
I value deep friendships. As a proud INFP, I'd much rather talk about profound and valuable subject matters rather than the trivial and endlessly repetitive small talk that I feel that I engage in with new people I meet. All my friends will second that my go-to get-to-know-you question is what's your favorite part about life rather than what dorm do you live in. The reason for this is simple: the vulnerability that people employ in deep friendships allows me to connect with people I thought I could never empathize with, in a way that a few surface-level exchanged sentences can never permit.
I value deep friendships. Yet the text I received that sunny Saturday afternoon on the way back has made me question my relationships ever since.
Surely, after all the value I place on friendship, I must be someone's number one. I quickly go through the list of people I have developed deep and meaningful connections with since arriving at Emory, before realizing that each of them has someone they are closer to that is not me. Meanwhile, the majority of my school friends have moved on to new adventures, leaving our friendships to gently fade into a high school haze. Does my Mom count? I wonder fleetingly, remembering all of our phone conversations – but she has three of us kids to look after.
This certainly isn't the first time my lack of finding my "number one" has gotten to my head. First semester, it seemed that I was constantly questioning why every single person I met had found someone that they had clicked with instantly, and why that person wasn't me. The seed of constant comparison to others was sown in my life, to the point that I interacted with my friends from a place of bitterness and sorrow. Watching sorrowfully as my closest friend become closer and closer to another friend. Observing wryly how two other close friends could already share a plethora of inside jokes and memories that I was somehow no part of. Browsing aimlessly through social media to see all my other friends and friends-of-friends who were having the most phenomenal time in college—without me. Acting as the wallflower in each of my relationships, simultaneously begrudging others for developing best friendships and being too scared to make the first move.
Yet as was often the case during my first semester, I needed to focus on all the blessings I already had rather than the one aspect I thought I was missing. Why would I need a single person to fill up the void of friendship in my life when I have a network of people that I can count on in all circumstances? I have spontaneous-adventure friends and mug-cake-and-Netflix friends. I have let's-explore-campus friends and let's-just-go-to-the-Duc friends. I have life-is-good friends and shoulder-to-cry-on friends. I have mentors, residential staff, hallmates and study buddies.
Not having to rely on a singular "number one" means that when there's a piece of good news – getting that job I really wanted or earning that A I worked so hard for – I find myself telling a plethora of people from Emory and beyond that I know will rejoice with me. Although every single person on their list may have someone that they are closer with, that doesn't mean that they don't care for me. Each friend values me as a person they can be vulnerable with, regardless of whether we're besties or not.
So, maybe I'm still in search of that number one. But maybe having someone I can rely on no matter what isn't necessary, as I already have found so many people who will make it their priority to be there for me in both joy and sorrow. Although I don't have that one shoulder to cry on just yet, I am certain that, when challenges come my way, I have a whole army standing behind me.