I can tell that we are gonna be friends
I’ve heard it said that the friends you make in college are the friends you’ll have for life. I may have only graduated from higher education a mere six months ago, but I have a strong inclination that that mantra will hold true in my lifetime.
My two best friends from college are Katie and Ellen. We all met because we lived in the same residential dorm hall during our freshman year at West Chester University. I was roommates with Ellen and we met Katie because she was living just down the hall from us.
Becoming roommates with Ellen was not a chance occurrence. Incidentally, we had both signed up for a roommate-matching service that allowed users to search possible contenders based on pictures, profile descriptions and common interests or living habits. Think of it as the Match.com for college dorm-mates.
We virtually “met” on Roommate Match and finally met in person on move-in day. It was definitely awkward in the beginning—as most first-time encounters are on my end—but our relationship eventually became as comfortable as friends who have known each other since preschool.
The day we moved into our dorm rooms is the day we met Katie. Everyone was rearranging beds and desks (more big picture stuff) while I was intently focused on hanging up a Bob Dylan poster my 10th grade English teacher had gifted me. Katie’s dad was walking down the hallway, noticed my mom and I struggling—one might called us vertically challenged—and offered to help out.
The three of us stuck together that weekend, clinging onto each other to survive the dreadfully painful ordeal known as orientation. The fact that we made it through those three days helped us to bond instantly. I guess I have BD to thank for that one.
After one and a half years living in the dorms, we decided it was time for us to move off campus. We found (and almost didn’t get after a series disheartening email exchanges) the perfect apartment along West Chester’s main street in town.
It was love at first sight—or should I say first tour. It was all of our first time truly living like adults. No supervision, no resident hall assistants, no one to remind when trash night was. It was an experience that made us all grow as adults and individuals.
There’s nothing like living with your best friends. It’s kind of like one big, fun sleepover at first. Staying up too late, watching movies until 3 in the morning, late-night runs to the local 7-11 for who knows what. But I think, for me personally at least, I drastically underestimated how big of a step moving in with other (nonfamilial) people was.
I can only imagine the same thing happens if you move in with a significant other, but with best friends living together definitely changes your relationship as a whole. You see each other at your best and have to deal with and help each other at your worst.
We survived living together. It wasn’t the easiest experience I’ve ever gone through. In fact, I learned things about myself that I’m not sure I ever would have had to deal with if I hadn’t have had Katie and Ellen there with me. I let my anxiety get the better of me at times. But if I wouldn’t have gone through those fights and meltdowns with my best friends, our relationship wouldn’t be as strong as it is today.
Fast-forward four years. We all made it out of college (Ellen is currently finishing up her last semester of student teaching) and that’s when I knew the real challenge was going to come into play. It’s easy to stay close with people when you live in the same town, or the same apartment for that matter. You can almost take something like that for granted.
But when Katie, Ellen and I all went our separate ways at the end of the summer, I honestly felt scared. I had grown with these two people so much over the last few years. They helped shape me into who I am now. They’ve been there for me through meltdowns, breakups, job offers and everything else in between.
Relationships become a lot harder when you don’t see the person every day. It’s not just friendships either. I’ve done long-distance relationships twice, and it puts a lot of strain and pressure on both parties. Even moving out on my own and not seeing my mom everyday has been a learning curve for the both of us.
Since I’ve moved to Philadelphia for my new job only a month and a half ago, Katie and Ellen have visited twice. It felt like those weeks when we didn’t see each other never happened; we immediately got back into our old ways.
It felt so great—and a little relieving too—that things went so effortlessly.
Of course, you still have to put in work for relationships, whether they are long-distance or not. Make an effort to call or text the person every so often. See something that reminds you of the person? Send them a text or picture! It’s those little things that will not only make their day but keep your relationship going strong.