Since a young age, I have been able to make a friend in just about anyone. My parents wasted no time worrying about my social skills developing, and instead spent a great deal of my childhood coordinating play-dates and sleepovers. Fostering friendships came effortlessly; the company of and my engagement with others fulfilled me well into the beginning of adulthood.
My early years of college were abundant in new friendships that navigated the over-stimulating independence of college. It didn’t take long, however, before I realized that the company of my new friends was sustained through the convenience of sorority events, social gatherings, or the comfort of just having someone to call ‘friend’. The shininess wore off. I looked for friendships in forced places, and because of that, was getting no return on the investment of relationships that I cherished making. The cycle of fast friendships eventually withering repeated itself until I finally gave up. I was confused at how one can lose an innate quality, such as my being able to make friends with a stranger at the crack of a smile. Maybe I wasn’t too good at making friends after all. I continued to grow in my relationships back home and found contentment in my mutual, fruit-bearing relationships at college.
At the beginning of junior year, studying abroad presented an opportunity to escape the inconsistency of friendships at college and explore a world outside of Cal Poly. Although I was fortunate to make life-long friends along the way, I was also the most independent I had been my entire life. As I discovered more of the world, I discovered more of myself. I didn’t have the withering relationships I made at college to fall back on when I was lonely. Instead, I listened to, and eventually, befriended the voice inside my head; I became my own best friend. Meanwhile, I grew grateful for the authentic, enduring friendships I would return to at Cal Poly.
I have since then continued on the journey of understanding myself, my relationship with Christ, my dreams, my likes and dislikes, and what feeds my soul. The path of self-discovery equally allows us to become a better friend to both ourselves and to others.
We spend our entire lives, just ourselves, hanging out inside our own heads. I admit how crazy this sounds. But do you know the friend in your own head? Do you like her? Is she someone you would go out of your way to spend time with? The more outlandish this sounds, the more important it is to find that friend. For me, it was the struggle to immediately make lasting friendships in college that taught me how to make a lasting friend in myself – with the friend in my head.