I used to have 8234839234 million “friends.” And I put quotation marks around the word “friends” because I use that term so lightly.
College was a dream for me. While the school I went to wasn’t perfect, I was too enamored with it to notice it’s flaws while I was there, so I danced through those four years with a big fat smile on my face. Sure, I had plenty of tough times in college, namely some difficulty adjusting to the academic rigor of the school I went to and a couple of ugly relationships, but otherwise I was the girl who’d hijack the high school guests at your dinner party to convince them to think about applying to the place I loved so much.
I was sitting across from an incredible human being over salads and coffee in a local lunch spot and I was scared to death.
It wasn’t this human’s fault. She was becoming a person I trusted. You know those people you meet at random times in life who make you feel like God cut you from the same cloth? Like your souls share the same threaded design? This was how I felt with her, a person slowly becoming a friend as we decided to share small swatches of our hearts with one another, bit by bit, testing the waters to see if they felt safe.
And they had so far. But things were getting scary for me. Because I did feel safe, and that meant I had to wade a little deeper. I had to share a little more. If I wanted to take this acquaintance-becoming-friend to full-fledged-partnership, I knew I needed to make my way to the deep end, revealing more vulnerable realities I carried around inside clenched fists so nobody could see them.
A few months ago, a girl named Austen Dunn died suddenly from a brain aneurism. Austen was the kind of person everyone wants to know and wants to become. She was quietly and brilliantly talented, incredibly warm, and accepting of everyone who came into her path. She thought deeply and loved hard. Four weeks before she passed, I grabbed lunch with Austen and her best friend in a small coffee shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where we talked about mental health and her aspirations to become a therapist. The world lost a wonderful human.
There’s only one item on my bucket list I know I’ll never cross off.
Goal #12 on my long-term bucket list is to become a better friend, and I think there will always be room for growth. There will never be a day when I can say I am the best friend there ever was to all the people in my life, so I’ll always have more to strive for.
Let me start this off by saying that I love my boyfriend and dating him is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. He makes me happier than anything, and he is my very best friend. I wouldn’t trade our relationship for the world.
In a prior post I mentioned the high impact social circles have on happiness and overall wellbeing. I can’t stress enough how important a quality social circle can be for full living. My classes on therapy always include a lesson or two on how necessary it is to gauge a client’s social network and level of social support during the first or second session, because this can be a critical strength or weakness in the road towards the achievement of personal goals and overall joy.