One thing I find so difficult to do is make friends. I admit that I’m not very approachable, majorly because I love to keep my circle of friends small. Asides that, I also worry about being influenced by the wrong people. Although, I didn’t always think about good or bad, or even keep to myself so much, but has our life experiences not changed us?
When I was in secondary school, I used to think I was very likable and so was in a large circle of friends, but during my University days, things were different. I was in school for five years and barely made friends. Academic work was hard, I wasn’t adjusting well to the environment, and making friends was even harder.
Living in the school hostel in part 1, I had a lot of back and forth with my roommates that I started accepting my fate of not making any real friends. For a lengthy period, I felt like the odd one out in any gathering, be it classes, group projects, or whatever it was. I would say I was a lone wolf and all I had were my books and family.
As luck would have it, somethings changed the following year. I made my first friend and it was surreal. I had just resumed school for my second year and everything felt new again. The new roommates, new rooms, and new classmates were always a lot for me to handle. I was still trying to get the hang of it when a girl walked up to me and started a conversation that turned out to be the best thing to happen that year.
I was shocked at how she could walk up to a stranger and ask some unnecessary questions because she wanted to be friends. Her courage amazed me. She was persistent with her questions and it felt like she cared enough to know me, so I gradually opened up to her. We connected on many levels that it felt like we were best friends in our previous lives.
Just like any friendship would, ours was tested a several times. In our fourth year, the school assigned us to different locations for a one-year training program. As much as we tried to keep in touch and make time to see each other, it was quite difficult. I was in a new environment with some people I’d never met before. I was overwhelmed with everything that I called my mum in the evenings of every day to listen to her words of encouragement. They always had a way of calming me.
As I was slowly adjusting to this new place, with new roommates, and loads of school work to do, I started to mingle and converse with people. I remember trying so hard to talk to one guy because I was drawn to his personality. Somehow, I could sense he was going through a difficult time and I was sure I could help. I tried to involve him in small talks but he kept being uptight.
When I decided to give up, he started opening up to me about the tough time he was having. He shared his problems and I was able to give him the best advice I could. Now that I think back, I might say that I was lonely and in need of a friend. Unknown to him, he needed someone who could listen, empathize, and understand the things that were bothering him.
Due to my persistence, I was able to help him through his dark time, and fortunately for me, I had made another friend. I didn’t think our friendship was going to last long because of school and other distractions, but thankfully, we always showed up for each other when we needed it. We have been through a lot together and our connection is still as strong as ever.
Some months back, when I had to bury my mum, I was amazed at how far he went to make sure I was okay. Honestly, friends like that are rare. People that put your well-being almost before theirs. I’m happy to call him my person, someone that gets me, that can tell me the truth for what it is. Someone that accepts my flaws and says, “Hey, I know you can be better than this, let’s work on it.” A friend that is always there regardless of how many times you push them away.
Truth is, I tend to doubt myself a lot, but having someone that is there to boost my confidence, encourage, or scold me when I need it is a beautiful thing. I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life, but most of all, for good friendship.