I belong to a group of more than five friends from high school. After going away to college, I was immersed in the sea of eager freshmenhood (no, that isn’t a real word) and selfishly put my “old” relationships on the backburner. I began building a close relationship with my roommate and other girls in my dorm.
Every waking moment was spent experiencing college aka the four golden years with these girls. All my friends back in Brooklyn are from Brooklyn so it was nice being around people from different states and backgrounds. My group consisted of five girls, give or take, depending on the year.
Although we hung out during breaks, I feel like I took my friends back home for granted. It got to the point where something significant in my life would happen and after beating the subject to death with my roommates, my friends back home either got the story in a nutshell or not at all. At the same time, I became “too busy” for their problems, not feeling connected enough to care as I should.
Towards the end of college and after graduating, I realized how wonderful it is for friendships to be tested and survive; distance is something that either breaks people apart or brings them closer together. I became aware of the importance of maintaining a friendship, old or new. But just like the first step of the Twelve-Step Program, admitting you have a problem is only the beginning.
After college I dived right into interning at AMC Networks. It was a nine-to-five job that rested on the surface of my conscious. (Deep down, I was concerned about finding something full-time once the internship ended.) Although some people are lucky to get hired right off the bat by the company they interned with, I was not so fortunate.
During this time, I let my worries consume me and even believed that my problems (mainly finding a job to pay off loans) were more important than anyone else’s. I was doubtful and isolated, feeling like I had no one when my friends were there. I was too blinded to see that. College forced me into a selfish bubble and so did the stress of being a recent grad.
It has been four months since I graduated. The lesson that I learned (and I’m still learning) is that friendships take effort and commitment. Texts that read “<3” or “thinking about you”, Facebook messages, phone calls, engaging in moments of nostalgia – they count and help preserve the beauty of being connected with others.
In high school my best friend and I had sleepovers all the time where heart-to-hearts were our favorite pastimes. A couple weeks ago, we revisited the olden days in a different fashion. Friendships are like romantic relationships – you have to adapt with the times and keep communicating. Don’t believe “it’ll work if it’s meant to be”, be proactive! (This is advice to you and a reminder to myself.)
This post was contributed by Tahara Roberts. Tahara blogs for a non-profit called the PHESA Foundation, which focuses on the “healthy habit swap” – swapping bad eating habits for good ones – for young kids in junior high and high school.