By Natalie Daniels
There is a particular saying I like to use when talking about forming and maintaining relationships; “People weave in and out of your life for a reason.” Some may only be a part of your life for a brief time; some could leave and then enter again, and a chosen few stay for good.
My mom would always try to tell me this while I cried over lost friendships in high school. Of course, I didn’t listen to her then; I focused on wondering why these friendships would end. Several depressing thoughts would buzz around in my head. I’m not good enough. I’m embarrassing. I wasn’t a good enough friend. I didn’t do more for them. Often, I did too much for friendships and wouldn’t get the same in return.
When I got to college, I told myself I would never let myself put so much into someone if they wouldn’t reciprocate. Freshman year, I had a solid group of 4 friends, including myself. We would do everything together. It didn’t stay this way for long, though. At times during college, I felt the group fall apart. One friend left the group after finding people she connected with more. At the time, I was angry with her, but now I realize she needed to find people that she felt she could be herself around.
My other two friends and I banded together for the next two years, with a new person coming into our little group. By then, it was sophomore year, and I was making friends in my sorority and a cappella group. One of my friends had an off and on again boyfriend, and the other began meeting people in her classes. We still always managed to see each other as much as we could.
Unfortunately, as the year progressed, we began to see each other less and less. The times I hung out with them, I felt self-conscious, a feeling I had never had before with them. I guess I thought that I couldn’t connect the way they wanted to, like I was missing something. It bothered me a lot. I kept myself busy with clubs, schoolwork, and new special friendships. Although I was distracted, my mind kept roaming back to the fact of being excluded.
As I continued to question our friendship, COVID-19 shut down our campus. Although the shutdown wasn’t ideal in my college career, it helped me get space and realize what I needed from friendships. I understood that I wasn’t the reason those friendships weren’t the same. I began to see that some people were only meant to stay in your life to help you see something in yourself. They helped me gain the confidence I’ve always been searching for. It also helped me learn how to rely on myself and enjoy alone time.
I also made new friends that are so strong that we still talk every day during quarantine! Now I’m in my senior year of college, doing most of my schoolwork from home, but I’m always so thankful for the close friends I have made.
Along with friendships, I struggled with a lack of romantic relationships. I didn’t date in high school, and it looks like I’ll finish college without a relationship. While freshman Natalie would be down about this, I’m so confident in myself now that I’m not bothered by it. Would it be nice to have a relationship? Yes! But do I need one? No!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that throughout life, you’re going to encounters issues with relationships. There are times where you’ll feel so loved and times where you feel so alone. It does impact you in college because most of the time, you’re living without your parents or friends from home that would help you work through these feelings. You need to be able to be there for yourself because sometimes people won’t be there for you. When people are there for you, though, it’s the best feeling. It’s not easy to navigate through your social life when you also have to deal with school on top of so many other things.
It’s doubtful you’ll stay close with all the relationships you made your freshman year. As you grow, these people may grow with you or grow without you. It’s not a bad thing, though. It’s just the way life works. You will find people who love you for you, regardless. I’m lucky that I have.
Natalie Daniels is an editorial intern for Dreamlette. She is a journalism major at Emerson College with a love of storytelling. Her favorite topics include entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, social issues, and music.