In the upcoming year, us class of 2016 students in particular will have our heads crammed with well-meaning yet slightly trite advice such as “create amazing memories with your friends this year” and “make the most of your last year with your friends.” Hearing things like this often creates this nervousness within me as I struggle to live up to the social expectations of high school. It feels like my high school experience isn’t authentic until I can come up with some crazy and envy-evoking story starring my friends and I to reminisce about once I enter adulthood.
Over the past 3 years of high school, the worry has certainly quelled a bit, but looking back I think the root of the worry came from my buried dissatisfaction with my friendships at the time. Don’t get me wrong; my friends were great people, however I wasn’t able to form a true connection with them because we just weren’t compatible. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some pieces of advice, in the form of a few of my favorite quotes, on how to deal with these unsatisfactory friendships.
“Your vibe will attract your tribe.” -Unknown
I’d say that the single most important thing to do is to figure out who you really are. Now I know this is super cliche, but honestly “your vibe will attract your tribe.” People typically befriend people who they see aspects of themselves in. Once you have a good idea about your interests and values, you’ll eventually attract people with similar or complementary ways of thinking. Instead of focusing on trying to fit in with different groups of people, try and make sure they fit with you. It’s definitely scary putting yourself out there like that, but I’ve found that it’s better than finding out years later that the perfect friend(s) were out there right within your reach, but your self-negligence lead to your paths never crossing.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey
Joining special interests groups are a great way to reduce the sample size of potential friends. If one of the issues with your friendship was that no one enjoyed or cared about your special interests, then going to meet those who already fill that qualification allows you to see what more or less you need in your next friendship. Whether it’s joining clubs at school or organizations in your city, surrounding yourself with people who care about some of the same things you care about will give you a great buzz of energy and contentment. It’s very important to find people who care about what you have to say even if the topic of choice seems trivial.
“You are a force to be reckoned with.” -Unknown
If you truly believe that it would be best for you to stick it out because you see hidden potential in the friendship, go for it.In the case where the dissatisfaction stems from a generally fixable problem, an attempt to fix this problem could add a new layer to your character or even solidify an old one.
For example, it is certainly possible for you to turn a turnoff into something cherished. Rigid, superficial standards are definitely meant to be broken. If you have a friend who goes on and on about how she can’t even stand being in the same room as someone who loves something you secretly love, I implore you to reveal your love and teach him/her a sweet lesson on judgement and acceptance. Your quirk could become a part of you that is nothing but adored among your friends, as it should be.
A friendship should not be a mutualistic relationship; all involved should benefit equally. If you aren’t wholly committed to a friendship because it just aren”t gaining much from it, then leave for yourself because you are your number one priority.