You never know how lucky you are until you move away. I have a great group of friends in the city I just left and knowing that I had those friends makes me even lonelier than I already am. It’s like when you buy an ice cream cake and you don’t know how good it is until you open the box. I never thought I would make such strong friendships with such wonderful people. I feel honored and extremely lucky to have these people in my life.
My whole life I struggled with making friends. I was never popular. I always felt like a social outcast. There were times, especially in middle school, when I didn’t do the right thing because I felt someone was bringing me down as a friend.
In middle school there were these twins who I wanted to be so badly. They had money, were good at sports, had been skiing their whole lives, and everyone liked them. The twin I had more classes with told me that for their birthday this guy, Patrick, made out with all of the girls at the party. At the time I was super impressed. Now, thinking about it, Patrick made out with like 15 middle school girls in the same night. Gross. (I would like to add that I always had a huuuuuge crush on Patrick and was so jealous. Now, Patrick is a fat police officer and he is not at all cute). I know this because, somehow, we are still friends on Facebook after all of these years.
Needless to say, I tried super hard to be her friend even though the kinds of things she was doing were completely foreign to me. I mean, I didn’t properly make out with a guy until college, let’s be honest here. I had a few boyfriends in high school and all we did was kiss and awkwardly avoid that whole using tongue thing. It almost seems comical now, to me.
When I planned my eighth grade birthday party, I invited this cool twin. She told me not to invite this girl that I was friends with. So I didn’t. I wanted her to like me. I wanted her to invite me into the popular group that she was a part of, so then I could finally not feel like a total dweeb, for once. She kept saying how excited she was for my party. I felt so relieved that someone like her would want to even consider being my friend. The week of the party, she informed me that I couldn’t make it. So I invited the girl that she didn’t like, instead. And let me tell you, to this day, I don’t regret inviting this girl at all. She truly was my friend and I’m glad the twin didn’t make it to my party. (Side note, I was totally always the naive and innocent one and I’m still not sure to this day how someone’s bra ended up in the freezer…)
Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that I suck at making friends. I suck at picking the right people to hang out with. My social anxiety makes it impossible for me to read people or know if they want to be my friends until they pull a gesture that really tells me they want to be my friend.
I spent the first 3 weeks of college mostly alone and so awkwardly saying “hello” to the people in my dorm and then going straight in my room. I cried a lot. I was really homesick and had no friends. One night, I was doing homework and I came out to tell my neighbors to shut up, since they were all hanging out in the hall way. Instead, I talked to them, and some of those people I met that night are still some of my very best friends. Things like that don’t usually happen to me; it felt like the exception that time.
Flash forward to the rest of college where I didn’t really make any new friends other than those I had become friends with during my freshman year and then the occasional friend along the way. Even when I was a RA, I thought so many of those people were my friends, come to find out they were all hanging out and not inviting me, and many of the people I wanted so desperately to be friends with have already unfriended me on Facebook. Even people I thought I was close with didn’t make an effort after graduation.
So what is it about me? I consider myself an okay, if not good, friend to the friends I already have. I try my hardest to be there for people when they need me (or even if they think they don’t) and I try to include everyone in what I’m doing. I try really hard to keep in touch with friends who move away. I try to keep tabs on my family near and far. I try to be kind, to say the right thing, and to have somewhat of a social life. I am fiercely loyal, almost to a fault, about the ones I care about. I’m not afraid to alienate people who betray my friends or family.
There are two more sessions of my second summer class left. Let me tell you, if you thought making friends in high school, middle school, or college was tough, it’s NOTHING compared to attempting to make friends in grad school. Nobody wants to talk to you, but they all want to talk to each other. I mean, we are master’s students, people! Enough with the cliques. I just keep having these horrid flashbacks to middle school.
Your peers will laugh out loud when you are talking to the professor and make a mistake. Your peers will rudely correct you when you’re wrong and act like you’re wrong when you’re talking about something you’re familiar with and they are not. If they don’t know it, it’s not right and they will then attempt to prove you wrong, when the whole time you knew you were right and that just ended up being a huge waste of time. People will steal your chair even when you leave your belongings in it so you don’t get to sit with the other people and you have to sit by yourself, again.
People in grad school forget how to say hi or use their manners. People in grad school forget how to be kind. You feel extremely sad that you don’t have any friends, but why would you want to be friends with these people anyways? Who makes plans during class right in front of everyone else? Who rides the subway with you a few times and then starts walking to another station without saying a thing? Who feels the need to endlessly correct you and put you down? Grad students.
It’s lucky I have a great group of friends back in Maine, otherwise I would completely lose my mind. I just need one friend. ONE. Then this class might have been easier to get through.
Luckily there’s just two days left, and then I’m off to the midwest with my parents for 10 days. I need a break from feeling so lonely and sad every time I make the trek into Boston for class. If one person in that classroom could just understand that I just moved here and maybe could try reaching out instead of completely ignoring me or putting me down, that might give me some hope for these people. Instead, I’m left to wonder if maybe, in the fall when I am taking more classes, will people be more respectful and understanding? Will I continue to take classes with some of these people?
I tried to be patient but I can’t wait until this class is over.