From the middle school days of not wearing deodorant but needing deodorant, to T9 text messages about how excited we were that our boyfriends were getting their braces off that day, to skyping on our dorm room floors with puke breath from the night before, I've had the same best friends.
Not only have we grown up together, we've also grown with one another, blended our lives together and evolved into completely different people in different places. But, we've still managed to stay attached at the hip.
Even throughout my four years of college, I probably made a total of four true blue, solid friends. Sure, I had other people whom I considered “friends,” but those “friendships” didn't evolve past the point of keeping each other in the know about what parties were bumping.
The solid friends I did make were the ones I walked home with every night, whom I shared a kitchen with and who I crawled into bed with at 4 am, completely beside myself over some boy. Or, maybe it was some feeling of utter self-loathing that only being drunk in college can bring to the surface.
These meaningful friendships I can count on one hand are what I pride myself on.
I've now graduated and live in a new city, hours from home and most of my friends. I admit, there were a few times when I threw myself into situations and conversations in an attempt to make friends at a rapid pace.
I didn't want to feel like a complete and utter loser while my boyfriend received invites upon invites from friends he's had in the area for years.
I realized I wasn't being authentic when I forced funny quips into random conversations. It just isn't me to build friendships from small talk, to rush the process of getting to know people just because I felt like a “loser.”
Sure, maybe this tactic gets you more friends at a rapid pace, but more often than not, it doesn't get you real friends that last.
I've always been the kind of person who dives right into the heart of all matters, and I have never been one for small talk. I like to get right to the good sh*t, like hopes and dreams, why your family screwed you up and the gory details of first love gone wrong.
Although this kind of approach doesn't appeal to everybody, and isn't a recipe for a gaggle of girlfriends surrounding me at any given time, it has allowed me to cultivate friendships.
Those friendships have endured the tests of time, space and, of course, the bitch-dom that is “sisterhood” these days.
Once I stopped painting a caricature of myself, and started to actively participate in conversations with my thoughts, feelings and opinions rather than with meaningless chit chat, I slowly but surely began to form new friendships.
It worked because I wanted to know these people, and I wanted them to know me, not simply because I feel like I “have” to have “friends.”
For me, this obvious but often overlooked concept has made all the difference. When you put the effort in and take the time to create a strong foundation of familiarity, trust and genuine love for another person, you find yourself surrounded by not a gaggle, but your very own community of friends.
These friends don't get jealous. They applaud your achievements, wipe your snot with their own sleeves and tell you your boyfriend is an assh*le, even though they know that's not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
These friends know where the party is bumping; they know your favorite cocktail, but they also know that you spoil the ending of every book, movie or TV show finale because you just can't hold it in. They know when to leave you alone and when to knock down your door.
I don't know about you, but personally, I'd take my tiny but true community over an extensive but empty network of acquaintances any day. I invite you all to skip the small talk, blow past the bullsh*t and build true friendships that last.