I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately… what makes a person appealing as a friend?
Making friends always came easy to me in grade school through high school but once I got to college that got really hard all of a sudden. I keep asking myself why, and honestly all that I can come up with is that I’m not interested in the same things as most people my age. I keep meeting people who want to get wasted every weekend and that’s great for them, but I don’t want to join them. I hate getting drunk, I don’t think it’s fun at all, and I’d rather go out to dinner, have a cocktail, and call it a night.
Someone mentioned to me in college that I was extremely off-putting by complaining so much about how I didn’t have anything in common with anyone my age because all they care about is partying, and I made it seem like I thought I was better than everyone else.
That shocked me, because I wasn’t aware I was putting anyone down. Whenever I went to a party, I got made fun of for not drinking, or stared at like I was crazy for declining, or people would just keep pressuring me about it until the night ended so I finally just stopped going to parties. I did not think less of the people who were going to parties – if anything, I was jealous of them. They were having fun, and for some reason I couldn’t have fun by joining them and it certainly wasn’t fun to sit alone in my dorm while they all partied the night away.
My other problem has been whenever I meet someone I think I really click with, I have to do all the work to keep it going. I have friends from forever ago whom I love dearly and I would do anything for, and they’ll see me, if I make the call. If I text, they’ll respond. If I invite them to hang out, they’ll show up. But do they ever call me? Not once. And that makes me feel like I’m annoying. Like I’m pestering them, like they really have no desire to be my friend or talk to me because if they did, then they would pick up the phone and initiate the conversation once in a while, right?
So that makes me think that it’s me. I’m doing something that is turning people off, something that is keeping them away. I have to be. But I don’t know what it is, besides the fact that I’m just boring. I would rather see a movie than go to the club. I would rather have deep conversation than exchange stories of drunken college hookups. But if that’s what my friend wants to talk about, I realize that I could do a much better job of listening and perhaps without realizing I have been turning up my nose at them.
If you like to party, please know I’m not judging you in any way. Everyone is entitled to their own fun. I wish I liked to party, that would make meeting people and finding things to do with them a whole lot easier. I’ve tried it, and it’s just not for me, and that’s fine.
Friendship is a two way street. Lots of people have told me I can call them any time, but then they never call me, so I never call them either. If you have a friend that you care about, and you want them to share things with you, make sure you also share things with them.
I have run into people through out the last few years who seem to really like me and want to hang out with me, but the conversation is dull and I just don’t have the same desire to hang out with them. So that’s another issue, is being open to the opportunities that are given to you.
Maybe you met someone in an unlikely place, or maybe they text you too much in the beginning so you just stop answering, but everyone should be given a chance. Maybe they have a really cool story of why they ended up in the weird place that you met, maybe they’re just as lonely as you and that’s why they texted you so much, and if you tell them to cool it and have that polite conversation, they’ll back off and you can start having normal non-overwhelming conversations.
I think the most appealing quality in a friend is a good listener. They don’t have to give good advice, they don’t have to give any advice, for me, I just need them to listen and show me that they actually care.
My best friend lives in Philly, we haven’t gone to school together since 7th grade, so I don’t know any of the people in her life that she talks about. I don’t fully understand her program because I’m not in it, but I love this girl to death, and I want her to be happy. I want to know that she’s doing well and succeeding, and I also just find her life super interesting, so I don’t have to know the people to listen to the stories.
I guess I shouldn’t say I can’t make friends – I have friends. It’s just that most of my friends live on one of the coasts, or even just a few hours away but still too far to coordinate visiting for a weekend. It’s hard to deal with time differences and it’s great to have people to talk to, but it sucks when you can’t see them.
I wish I could make the kind of friendships I have with them with people here. People I can see regularly. So I’m back in my high school neighborhood, living in my college town, and it’s just amazing that there are so many people living right around the corner that I know from school, and we don’t talk.
I know that we get older and things change and people change. But the weird part is that a lot of things don’t – I see a lot of the same high school cliques and college clubs keeping up with one another at their usual hang outs. And I just wonder if they can keep those friendships going for so long, why is it so hard for others?
What is the key to keeping those relationships strong and making them last?