At this time in your life, being in college, taking on more adult responsibilities and exercising more emotional independence than before makes it easy to feel lost or lose optimism. That’s why I believe it is so important to surround yourself with a support group of friends and family that will uplift and confirm your positivity, not diminish it.
It’s always okay to have friends for different purposes — some that you mostly only see during your club meetings, others that you mostly only go out with. But it’s equally as important to have a few core friends that will help to be beacons of positivity and support when you most need it. I’ve learned that, personally, my closest friends who I have formed the strongest bonds with have similar traits to my closest family members who know me better than anyone else and whom I adore.
My closest friends are unbelievably kind, selfless and incredibly emotionally aware of others’ needs. They will never hesitate to ask if I’m feeling okay, and they always know when I could use some cheering up or encouragement. They uplift me and surround me with positive energy even when I find myself being negative.
This trait of providing positivity is what I have found to be most important in my relationships, whether they are friends or family. Some people, whether consciously or not, may project their own insecurities or fears onto their relationships, which is very harmful. It is important to remember that if you don’t feel valued and supported in a relationship, no matter what kind, you deserve to be able to take a step back.
If you ever find yourself feeling more negativity than positivity seeping into your life from a relationship, you should pause and reevaluate whether or not you want that person to continue to be a part of your life. While it feels awful in the short run to lose a friendship, I promise that in the long run, you will be happier because of it. Some people are not bad people, but simply not suited well to be friends with you, which is okay!
As a people pleaser and perfectionist, it’s easy for me to get stuck in the mindset that I need to get along with everyone and fix every broken relationship. However, there are some things that are beyond fixing and some that are simply not worth fixing at all. Learning to know the difference is a key to maintaining positive relationships with your friends, but also a positive relationship with yourself.
In college, you will meet some of your lifelong friends, but also some who, after graduation, you will likely only see at a few reunions throughout the years. If you learn to recognize the ones that are there for the long haul, you will find yourself a lot happier with your relationships overall.