You want to make friends. We all do. Every new environment you enter…a classroom, the quad, your dorm…you will be asking yourself…
“Who will I sit with? Walk with? Eat with?”
I don’t want to be alone.
It is a funny phenomenon of fate that you are most likely to be friends with your firsts.
First person you sit next to.
First day of class.
But after the relief of finding someone (anyone) to walk with begins to wear off…you will begin to look around and wonder…would I be happier in that group? With that friend?
So begins the self-selection process.
The Ultimate Frisbee team.
The college radio station.
Over the next four years, you will begin to identify your niche friendship brand.
In contrast, your potluck of friends after your freshmen year, will be a hodgepodge of utter accidents and actual affinities. The faraway freshmen dorm cohort who marches in solidarity the 15 minute hike to the main campus. Versus the specificity of “I saw you lugging your telescope toward the arboretum at dusk and look! I brought mine too! What model is yours? The view is great from The Hill of Three Oaks.”
My advice? Seek this balance between the odd and the intended friend for the remainder of your time. We are comforted and consoled by the humans we choose. We are challenged and evolved by the humans we don’t.
My previous post was a tribute to my first friend at Carleton College. Ours was begun by proximity and sustained by affinity. Had we not been randomly settled on 4th Burton, we never would have found each other. I may have never learned the wisdom of trails, knitting, and New England liberalism. She may have never had another opportunity to love a Midwestern Bible belt holy roller. Our gravity changed each other. Swung us on other trajectories we wouldn’t have chosen as our old selves but would never regret as our new selves.
Friendships in a major key can be a great consolation. These friendships are of our choosing. They affirm our impulses. Mirror ourselves back to us with complimentary variations.
But B7 Flat is beautiful. Dissonance and the comradery in minor chords haunts us long after the luxury of major tones has faded.
Some friendships are obvious and inevitable. Some affections are immediate. Some folks resonate with us from the first note.
And then…there are the others.
May you befriend the other. May you forever change each other.