Friendships are kinda weird, aren’t they?
I mean, we basically find people, start talking to them, and then do stuff with them. We basically force ourselves into the lives of other people, and they reciprocate.
And we do all of this without even asking, “Hey, do you want to be friends?”
It just sorta happens. And both individuals telepathically know a friendship has been formed. Even if it’s after just one conversation.
It all starts from the beginning.
We enter this world by ourselves. We don’t know anyone, except our family and the random people that want to hold us with one hand on our butt, so they can rock us back and forth until the room spins.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
Those are our early years. We don’t remember them; we’re told about them. The photo albums that collect dust are proof that we were actually there.
Then we start school. Wow, there is an army of children that get dropped off at the same building every single day. And they all have backpacks.
Is this some sort of cult? No, it’s school. Oh.
I remember some things from my kindergarten days. Rolling in a green barrel at recess. Playing basketball in the hallway, while the big kids walked by. Eating crackers and cheese for snack. That was the best. I would take two crackers, and put the cheese in between them to make crackers and cheese sandwiches.
I was a chef.
Kindergarten is when friendships were made. Everyone had that one person they sat next to on the carpet. They were a security blanket. Or a body guard.
As we got older, the carpet turned into desks. Which turned into group projects. Which turned into groups at recess. Which turned into going over to each other’s house to play video games and shoot nerf guns at each other because it was just so cool.
It all escalates so fast. We go from the carpet to shooting each other, all in the name of friendship. What is wrong with us?
Then the end of the line comes. Grade eight graduation. Some people you’ll never see again because they go to a different high school. That pretty much ends those friendships.
Everyone else goes to the same high school as you and tries to navigate the hallways of a recess-less society.
I remember that being a weird thing at first. You mean to tell me I’m stuck inside all day? We can’t go outside and play? Culture shock, I’m telling you.
Once you get to high school, your friends from elementary school make new friends. And so do you. You have to.
You start by sitting next to a stranger in class because seating is based on last name. Then you start talking to them. Then you start eating lunch with them. Then you do group projects with them…
If you can find someone you can instantly look at when the teacher tells you to make a group, you’re golden.
…Then their friends join the lunch table. Then your friends join the lunch table. And before you know it, you’ve run out of space at the lunch table.
How did this happen? I didn’t even know your name last week.
It’s like unlocking a level in a video game. “Congratulations, you are friends with this person, so now you are friends with their friends.” It’s a very strange thing if you stop to think about it. But we don’t.
Once again, the end of the line comes along. High school graduation.
You spent ten years forming friendships in elementary school. Then you spent another four years making new ones in high school. Now, you have to start over again.
You put your high school friends in your back pocket, to make room for new ones in your front pockets. And if you don’t have front pockets, you can always buy a fanny pack. Always.
When I went to University, I was one of only two people from my high school to go there. I should’ve been more scared. I’m not really sure why I wasn’t.
The thought of moving out and living ninety minutes (on a good day) away was daunting at first. But the alternative was staying home and commuting by plane, train, and automobile to school every day. Okay it would have been car, bus, subway, but you get the gist. I didn’t want that, so my decision was easy.
I was eighteen-years-old and going to a place where I didn’t know anyone. Like I said, I should’ve been scared.
This was the third time I had to transition to a new school. I could make new friends, again.
And I did.
Then four years passed and I came to the end of the line, again. Unlike high school and elementary school, you don’t necessarily live in the same town as your University friends. You go back to where you came from and start digging up the friends you stashed in your back pocket.
Outside of school, we meet other people and become friends them, too. Shocking, isn’t it?
I worked at a camp for three summers. Everyone was so close for two months, and then we all drifted apart and only hung on to a couple of people. It’s natural. You drift apart from people you don’t see anymore.
No hard feelings, it just happens.
Your friend group is wherever you are. The world revolves around you, is the message I’m subtly trying to get across.
That’s where the universal terms: “school friends”, “home friends”, and “work friends”, come into action.
By the way, “home friends” are the ones you leave behind when you go off to a post-secondary institution in another city.
Remember earlier when I said that if you become friends with one person, you become friends with their friends? Well, that’s one thing when you’re sharing school friends with a school friend. But as soon as you start mixing groups, it’s like an explosion happening five feet in front of your face.
Home friends meeting school friends might be the weirdest. You tell each about the other, and then they meet. Naturally, you have to sit down when it happens because the magnitude of it is just too much.
This is going to sound cruel, but every friend you make goes through a friendship strainer. You know, a strainer. The thing you put pasta in to separate it from the water. A strainer. Yeah, that.
Anyways, the friends that don’t fall through the strainer are the ones that stayed with you even after elementary school, high school, university, and different jobs ended.
You’ll need those people because life is a team sport with a bunch of individual moments.
I’ll say it again.
Life is a team sport with a bunch of individual moments.
Everything we do, we do alone. No one takes control of our body and walks to class for us. Or goes to work for us. Or eats a pizza for us (thank goodness). We do.
Now for the cheesy part. You might want to grab two crackers and make a sandwich out of this.
Everything we do, is done with the support of our friends. They are the security blanket. Just like that kid we had to sit next to on the carpet in kindergarten. They are there to pump our tires. Sometimes, literally.
They are the team with which we navigate through the obstacles of life. Conversations never end, they continue.
I’m going to end this with a sports analogy, so get ready for it.
We are all the captain of our own team, but there is no game if we don’t have players to take the field with us.