We don’t get to pick our family. We’re born into them without a choice. That’s our blood, and we’re tied to them forever. Now, I adore my family, so this isn’t a bad thing. Let me preface that I am not complaining when I say that family is something we’re “stuck” with. I’m extremely lucky that I was blessed with wonderful parents and best friends for siblings. They are a massive part of my life, and I love them dearly. Some of my friends have even gone ahead and started making families of their own, which is absolutely wonderful and heartwarming yet terrifying at the same time.
But now I’m getting away from my point (as per usual). While we all love our families, there are just some things that we can’t share with them in the same way we can with others. There are some thoughts and feelings and moments and stories that are saved for another special group of people—our friends. You might not live in the same state as your family. You may only see them on special occasions. That’s where your friends come in. You have “Friendsgiving” and wine nights and dinner parties. You choose to let your friends become your family.
I was watching the show the other day, and in a quieter scene, a content and relaxed Hannah, takes a bath and sings “Wonderwall” to herself. She then screams out in horror when her best friend, Jessa, appears in the doorway, not saying a word, but clearly distraught. Jessa hops into the bath with Hannah and begins to break down. Hannah looks on, not sure exactly what to do, but holds Jessa’s hand and almost cries herself because of the pain her friend is going through.
Now, you can call me a sap, but this scene really touched me. Not only because it was a huge character breakthrough for the tough and “why worry?” Jessa, but because this scene was so reminiscent of something that my friends and I would do. I could see myself in that tub, so to speak. It was such an honest and representative moment of what friendship means when you’re a twenty-something. You’re completely stripped down. You’re allowing someone see you at your own personal rock bottom. And while they see you crumble, they’re also willing to stay in that tub for hours, holding your hand while you cry.
That is friendship. And in your twenties (and even beyond), sometimes your friends are the most important people in your world.
There are hundreds of different kinds of friends: work friends, church friends, school friends, old friends, new friends, childhood friends, best friends, etc. And though they all usually get thrown into some kind of category, we’re always happy they’re around. Even on our birthday when our Facebook friends write a simple “Happy Birthday!” on our walls, we’re still touched that they took a millisecond out of their day to send some kind words our way. It’s also pretty cool to see how many people you’ve come into contact with in your life and how many lives you’ve entered and changed in some way. Sounds kind of cheese ball, but it’s true! Even Facebook friends can make us feel all warm and fuzzy!
We need those warm fuzzies. We need that sense of belonging. As humans, we crave that connection. We’re social beings, and friends are a necessity in the life-long goal to stay sane and grounded. Friendships increase our sense of community and purpose. We feel like we belong somewhere when we’re with people who enjoy our company just as much as we enjoy theirs. They make us happy. They reduce our stress. They help us cope with traumas but also stick around to help bask in our triumphs.
Friends will sit and watch you try on ten different outfits for your date on Friday. Friends will lie in bed with you all day while you cry over your ex. Friends share a pizza with you at 2 AM after a night out and make up reasons for why we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Your friends are also the ones you can share comfortable silences with. They’ll come and jump your car when you accidentally left your lights on all night. They’ll help you analyze a text from a guy and then also assist in drafting the perfect response. They’ll pick you up from the airport. Friends listen to you tell the same story 100 times because you love to rehash. They will know exactly what you meant when you sent a text in only Emojis.
They’ll give you the tough love when you need it. They’ll coddle you when you need that too. They’ll be genuinely happy for you when something amazing happens in your life. They don’t keep score. They don’t judge you for your past mistakes or the ones you’re going to make tomorrow and the day after that. They love you. They accept you for who you are—flaws and all. They pick us up when we’re down in the dirt. They restore our souls. And you do the same for them. There is mutual respect and decency in true friendship.
At this time in our lives, we’re a bit unsure of ourselves. We may not know what we want or where we’d like to go or who we’d like to go there with. We may be blind to what’s best for us, and that’s why it’s important to have friends around to remind us. They are the people who know us better than we even know ourselves. I truly believe that the importance of friendship cannot be overstated. We need friendship. It is such a vital part of any person’s life, but especially now—when things are confusing and hazy and uncertain. We feel less alone. We feel like we’re all in this together.
Friends keep us grounded. Friends give us stability. It’s important to preserve and take care of the friendships that really matter to us. Don’t let life or “being busy” stop you from being a good friend. Feel appreciative and thankful for the people who still stick by you because unlike family, they aren’t obligated to through bloodlines. If you have just one friend that you know you can count on when things get rough—you’re lucky and blessed and truly fortunate. Real friendship is rare. Truth be told, I would be completely lost without my friends. Make sure to hold onto those people in your life that only make you a better version of yourself. And please, don’t forget to return the favor.
Katie has recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!