STUDENT AND THE CITY: Are all college friendships meant to last forever?


Student and the City is a column dedicated to asking the big questions that all college-aged students are asking. It will explore different social concepts within the younger generations regarding relationships, lifestyle, social media and more. 

Throughout my four years of the nightmare society calls high school, I was told that college is where I will meet my best friends for life. So I waited out the years of awkward social interactions, immature competitions between girls and the series of friend groups I found myself in, clinging onto the hope that college is where I would meet my people.

The question is: are all college friendships really meant to last forever?

Freshman year, I was optimistic. I was ready to push my struggles with shyness to the side and open myself up to the soulmates I was promised. Evidently, I spent each day mastering acrobatics attempting to get into my hysterically tall twin-sized bed and managed to finish the entire series of “Friends” before October. Turns out, it is hard to make friends when you do not join any clubs or speak up in the elevator filled with other students staring at their phones with headphones in. 

I eventually found people to hang out with in my dorm building. I held onto some of these relationships a little too long that eventually crashed and burned, because of my preconceived notion that those would be my pals for life. Maybe this was what college soulmates were meant to be and I just had to stick it out. 

The companionships that have stuck are different than what I expected to gain in college. 

At first, I put an immense amount of pressure on these friendships. I thought, finally, I found what I have been looking for: my closest mates that I will grow through life with. 

Because I had such high expectations of these people, I often found myself disappointed. I assumed they would be as loyal as I was. I invested all of my effort and care, and I tried my best to be a good friend to them. But they did not do the same in return.

I strived everyday to push past the boundary separating us from being buddies to being soulmates. When I got disappointed, I often fell into a phase of sadness and released negative energy that no one wanted to be around — who wants to spend time with the moody girl on her phone in the corner, after all?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I was forcing friendships into something they were not meant to be. 

Think of your life as a book. As a college student, you are only in the beginning chapters of your story. The majority of the people you are going to meet, the things you are going to see and the places you are going to go are still ahead of you. Not every person you meet will be in every chapter. 

People come into your life for different purposes. Some come into your life to teach you a lesson that you could not have learned without them. Others introduce you to new things or new people. Very few come to stay––if you haven’t yet, you will find those people.

In college and in your twenties, you invent the person you want to be. Your values and personality change as you go through school, and you can’t expect others to stick around for the ride while they do the same. 

Not all of your friends will have the goals, passions and interests as you. You have to be okay with making “situational friends,” who can be just as valuable as forever friends. These are people who might just be fun to be around for now. They are the people you will make some of the best memories with. 

Not everyone you choose will choose you. You can’t control what other people do, you can only control yourself. When I stopped putting so much pressure on my current friendships, I saw a significant, positive difference. Not only did we get along better, but I felt happier. I did not expect anything from them and did not invest as much, so I could not get disappointed. 

Instead, college should be about meeting as many people as you can and gaining as many experiences as you are willing to dive into. Remove yourself when you recognize a situation is toxic in your life, but allow yourself to stay even when you know that person will never be a bridesmaid in your wedding. Focus on putting out good energy, being kind to each person you meet and opening yourself up to all opportunities and all potential relationships.