College-High School Friendship Dichotomy

Jaime Coyne

At 12:20 a.m., my day has just “started”, but something has already made my day. I happened to glance down my buddy list on AOL Instant Messenger, and saw that my best friend was online. We haven’t lived in the same town since infanthood, she goes to school in Indiana and seeing her online is a rare event. It’s funny, but our short, fairly insubstantial conversation – covering little more than “I miss you” and “We’ll make plans over break” – had the capacity to brighten my exhausted eyes. Just the simple fact of communicating with someone I love made a difference.

During our conversation, she mentioned that she was with a friend who reminded her of me significantly. My immediate response was jealousy of not having a replica of her here at Colgate with me. This called to mind a conversation I recently had with someone about the transition of friendships from high school to college. I postulated that I haven’t made the kind of friendships here that I have at home, precisely because I have so many close friends from home that mean so much to me. It was a little odd for me to hear when I arrived at Colgate that not everyone had had the kind of bonds I had in high school. It then struck me that maybe I had been taking for granted how lucky I am to have such good friends. Perhaps some people have an easier time making friends in college because they don’t have expectations for their possible future friends to live up to. Maybe I expect too much from people.

The person I was speaking with suggested that perhaps I am looking for replacements for my friends from home, instead of accepting the uniqueness of new friends. I don’t think this is what I do, and I certainly hope it isn’t, but I see the plausibility of the argument for anyone in my situation. You miss your old friends, so you instinctively look for all the same combinations of traits in new acquaintances. She explained that, in comparison, she had been very ready to leave her high school friends behind and really felt no attachment to them anymore upon entering college. Thus, she was open to experiencing new things, whereas someone in my position is not.

I would at least like to think that I don’t do this. While I am certainly jealous that my friend managed to find “another me”, and would be delighted to discover a similar friendship to the one I have with her here at school, I’m not looking for duplicates. I think, in truth, I’m simply more drawn to people who display some characteristics that I’ve found in my friends in the past, which is why I’m such good friends with those people. It’s only natural, and it’s probable that when I do find my niche at Colgate, those friends will be people that I can be fairly confident my friends from home would get along with.

That’s not to say that I would never consider someone to be a potential friend who was radically different from all the friends I’ve had. I think friendships have a way of sneaking up on you, regardless of who they involve. By the time you realize someone has become a close friend, you are already weeks deep in quality time with that person, which came about so naturally that it couldn’t be documented as it occurred. You don’t choose your friends so much as life does. I would like to think that any lack of deep attachments I have in college is not due to some terribly irreversible psychology stopper in that area, but simply because circumstance has not yet caused what will happen with time. If my best friend’s twin that she was unknowingly separated from at birth saunters onto campus one day, maybe we’ll become fast friends. Either way, I’ve got an amazing friend in the original person, and a whole life ahead of me to make more.