As attributed to Aristotle: “without friends, no one would choose to live”.
I came to university quite alone. I did not really have many friends left.
During my gap year, most of my friends from school had gone to university themselves and made new friends and did not tell me when they were coming home. Equally, I only got one invitation to go and visit one person, which I did, but then that was that. My best friend at the time and I fell out so badly that we still haven’t spoken four years on, and then my next bestie denounced all technology when we both moved to university, out of fear that her strange dad was going to text her and turn up out of the blue.
I kept it to myself, but I was desperate to make a friend. I’m experiencing it again now, and it is a remarkable challenge trying to find some.
Before university started, I had joined every Facebook page and group chat. I knew hundreds of names and I knew what a bunch of people were going to be doing at uni, but I was also a bit cringed out by how desperate they sounded to get to know people. Obviously, this is real irony. It was actually through one of these chats that I found my best friend, but that was just because he came along when I met up with someone else. I am very grateful to you.
I was also very lucky with my flat and, out of the six others, I am still living with two. This is a great feat considering I’ve finished university, and I did spend the previous two years with all but one. Your flat can be your best friends, or just a good group of people to go out with because they can’t really leave without you. I am thankful for their patience and kindness, even though I definitely got more boring as time went on.
There is still a challenge to making friends. You have to be quite democratic. Sometimes, life puts people who you really don’t like in the way of people you do. Sometimes, you have to hang out with people you’d rather not in order to make some actual friends that have the same interests as you. There’s a certain level of ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ about everything: fake confidence, fake laughter, fake like her. But that’s just the beauty of being a person and attempting to get along with others for extended periods of time.
The best advice is to put yourself in situations that you would organically enjoy, with the hope that someone else is similar enough to you that you can be friends. Get to know any potentials, because they are potentially going to connect you to other potentials. And definitely try and make a friend on your courses, because life does get easier when you have someone who isn’t a lecturer to share notes with.
This is a personal memoir, a thank you to those I’ve known. While I may have some advice and reassurances, if your life doesn’t follow the same path as mine, then don’t see it as a sign that everything is destined to go wrong.