The F Word

Friends. Yep, I said it. Pardon my French but lately I’ve been having a friend crisis. I’ve had so many teachers, preachers, (okay maybe not preachers) tell me that “meeting people is so easy” and “college is where you’ll find your lifetime friends.” Well, sorry ‘bout it but, I’ve found that those two statements couldn’t be more of a lie than saying that Channing Tatum is ugly. I’ve also found that college is where you find you have no friends and you’re going to die lonely. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. But, personally, I feel so lost.

I come in contact with a lot of people who are in sororities (aint got no time or money fuh dat), fraternities, and different organizations…blah blah blah. They seem to have their own friend circles within those different groups. They also seem to have their lives and friendships in perfect condition. Now obviously, this white picket fence lifestyle isn’t true for everyone. But I feel like such an outsider sometimes. I’m always being told “you have so many friends, you know everyone!” But that’s just it…I know a lot of people. I have a ton of acquaintances…but so few of these have blossomed into legitimate friendships.

Both my freshman and sophomore year I’ve roomed with really good friends from high school. I guess at first this was great. But I feel like it’s been more of a curse at times than a blessing. Freshman year I felt content with the few friends I had from high school. I did what I could to make other friends – like the girls in my suite, but nothing too much. The suite situation was a great way to start out my first year in college, but of course good things must come to an end. Some of our personalities just didn’t mesh well, drama ensued, friendships ended and undoubtedly that’s a part of life. So now, here I am: an older, more mature, knowledgeable me. Tons and tons of events, months, and awkward moments later…and I can say that among all my “friends” I’m left with ONE reliable, true, committed, loving, caring, investing, and trustworthy [genuine] friend attending Chapel Hill (yes I have others but this one is best of the best…sorrynotsorry). This tells me 2 things.

1.) Genuine friendship is difficult to find.
2.) I may be setting my standards too high. But come on…doesn’t anyone also want genuine friendship anymore and not just the superficial “hai gurl, wuts UP, how’RE U dOiN gurrrrl?!?!”?

I often struggle with self-confidence and I’ve found myself pointing the finger in the mirror. I feel like something must be wrong with me since I lack genuine friendship – I don’t meet their standards: I’m not quite pretty, I’m fat (another F word for another blog), my personality is unattractive, and the list goes on and on. I constantly scrutinize myself over little things. And this leads to scrutiny in other areas of my life…such as my “friendships”. My over-analyzing is unhealthy and I realize it, but it’s also extremely hard to discontinue.

Aside from my over-analyzing, I have a huge heart…for every single person on this planet (mostly…kinda sorta). And sometimes it bites me right in the tush. (AKA I care too much, sometimes) I have a few friends that I feel like I’ve invested so much time in, who, in return, refuse to invest time back in me. Yet, when I initiate a discussion on it, they have no conviction. I feel like we have contrasting definitions of what it is to be a “genuine friend”. Even when I’m listening, praying, caring, and loving my friends, I sometimes feel a shallow inconsistency from them. I feel like I expect that genuine friendship should exist more frequently in the world when maybe it just doesn’t…

I’m super jealous of the people who have close friend circles. Many of them began pursuing these friendships freshman year and have bonded closely with these people. So, now they’re attached at the hip…and then there’s me just chillin’ on the sideline. It’s like this song: sort of…Any way, I feel like these folks are just so content with their jolly lives and friendships that they hang the “no vacancy” sign in their little friend hotel windows. Their friend capacity has reached its limit. And here I am going into my junior year with no “friends”.

All of this is really kind of crazy. Last Thursday night I FINALLY got the chance to go to Cornerstone, a campus ministry large group meeting (dang that was a mouthful), because I didn’t have to work (PRAISE THE LAMB…I ALWAYS WORK DURING THESE MEETINGS BY THE WAY). The whole friend-y, clique-y, happy thing is rampant here and although I’m not the biggest fan of the friend-y clique thing (to all the Cornerstoners reading this…keep reading) I love Cornerstone, the students in cornerstone, and the focus of Cornerstone. The speaker’s message was on decision-making and one of his points was to have 2 to 3 rooted friends in their faith that will pray for you and think about you on a daily basis (so that in that time of decision-making, when you have absolutely no clue what decision to make, you can go to them and trust that they will give you upright, Godly advice). I didn’t have to work for a reason…God wanted me to hear this message. So now the friend crisis has been made even more real but God has put it into focus.

This F word crisis has really been an eye opener. It’s helping me to put a lot of things into perspective in my life. I realize that my scrutiny and lack of confidence has helped to create some barriers in this area. The bible verse that keeps coming to mind is “A friend loves at all times” which is from Proverbs 17:17. I not only want to epitomize that verse, but I pray that God would place some people in my life to do the same. Throughout this crisis I’ve also really learned to cherish the genuine friendships I DO have. Now is the time for change. I hope that as I begin letting some of these walls down that others will be turning off their “no vacancy” signs and welcoming new guests. I aim to challenge my boundaries and step out of my comfort zone to pursue some friendships, myself. I’ve learned from experience that you can’t idly wait for something to come your way – you’ve got to work for it…or else it will pass you by. In the words of Neal Donald Walsch,
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”