The Daily Gamecock

What I talk about when I talk about ... friendship

"Do I have an almond milk mustache?" Amy asks, cutting her bright blue eyes at me slyly. A line of foam from the latte lines her upper lip, and I snort through a sip of sweet tea. A few minutes later, eyes crossed, she's touching her nose with the tip of her tongue while I stick mine out in vain.

A few weeks ago, my therapist told me, "Friendships are inconvenient." At first I was taken aback, thinking that my friends were actually one of the most important parts of my life. But with more consideration, I think my therapist is right, especially in the busyness of college. Making time for my friends almost always takes up valuable hours that could be spent on homework, job applications or personal projects even self-care or sleep. I've spent money on dinner, coffee dates or small trips that could have gone to my savings. Sometimes I put my own struggles aside to help a friend deal with theirs.

None of this is easy or convenient, so why bother?

The answer seems simple and obvious, but I think it's easier to forget than we realize. Friendships are inconvenient, but they're worth it. Friends give us honest advice, support us when life is rough and make us into more interesting, well-rounded, empathetic people. They should challenge and enrich the parts of us that are undeveloped or stuck.

A week or so ago, I was sitting on my couch and my friend Karis was on the floor, and we were studying a couple of quotes from some of our favorite books. I asked her to do this formal reading practice with me for a creative nonfiction essay, knowing that she has read widely and loves literature in the same way I do. In the nearly two hours that we spent at my apartment that night, we surpassed the quotes and ended up discussing everything from political correctness to the value of human souls.

She and I have talked like this countless times on runs, on the drive to a concert in Tennessee or a race in North Carolina, on the train in London during our semester abroad. We almost always find our way to religion, both endlessly curious about each other's beliefs, which weren't all that different as it turns out.

For most of my life before college, I thought that friendship revolved around similarities and convenience. Each time my family moved, I kept in touch with the old friends for a bit and let those relationships fade as I built new ones. I was friends with mostly guys in high school, and the couple of close girl friends I had were invaluable exceptions to that rule. It wasn't until college that the equation flipped and I found more women to surround myself with.

Don't get me wrong; friendships with any gender are important, and I've had many wonderful guys as friends over the years. But the women whom I am lucky enough to call friends as the end of college approaches are particularly special. I have leaned on them and offered them my shoulder when they needed it. We've bonded over the common perspective of young women in this world and grown from sharing our unique experiences.

Life scares me. Graduating, finding a job, building a new life the prospect is utterly terrifying sometimes. Knowing that I have the love and support of these friends, whether we're in the same city or different countries, makes everything seem more doable. Even when we go months without seeing each other, or maybe even really talking, I trust their love and will be ready with my own to give.

When Amy and her parents came down from Pennsylvania for freshman orientation, I met her for the first time. The university had roomed us together at random in the Honors Residence Hall, and after all the roommate horror stories I'd heard, I was equal parts anxious and excited. She hugged me the moment my mom and I walked into the restaurant where we were having dinner.

Four years later, a couple weeks shy of graduation, I sit across from her at Cool Beans and wonder if I believe more in luck or fate.


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions