All That Glitters is Not Gold: How to Surround Yourself With The Right People

A picture I took at the Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum, a fun place for a friend date.

In college, it’s important to have friends who support you through the good times and the bad. When things get rough, having people to reach out to for help and support can make a world of difference. During some of my roughest times, I was lucky enough to have friends who did everything they could to make me feel better. But finding an amazing friend group was no easy feat.  

At the beginning of freshman year, I was determined to make as many friends as possible. In high school, I was extremely shy and stuck to a small group of friends, never branching out. While I was happy living this way, I knew that I limited myself to the same people because I was afraid of being judged for putting myself out there. In this new chapter of my life, I was determined to try something new. I didn’t want to let my anxiety stop me from meeting amazing people. So during orientation, I pushed myself to my social limit and spoke to every person who’d listen. It was difficult since I wasn’t used to being so social, but not impossible since orientation was a time for everyone to put themselves out there. I met a lot of different kinds of people from different backgrounds and places I had never spoken to before. It was exciting to immerse myself in an environment full of people from all around the world. But at the same time, it was exhausting, and my social energy slowly drained throughout the week. By the time classes started, I was back in my introverted shell, dreading all of the icebreaker activities during syllabus week. 

In my efforts to expand my friend horizons, I met many great people but also some not-so-great ones. I’ll never regret putting myself out there, but I do regret my decision to ignore my gut feelings about people under the guise of being open and welcoming to new people. I had a friend first-semester freshman year and the first time we met I remember feeling like he was nice–but there was something off about him. In my efforts to form close friendships with as many people as possible, I ignored it in favor of getting to know him better. At first, our friendship was normal, we talked a lot about music and books since we were both music lovers and writing majors. As the semester went on we started closer than I ever expected we would be. That strange feeling from when we first met remained, but since I exhausted myself from pretending to be a social butterfly, I didn’t have the confidence to tell him how I felt. Slowly, as I started forming closer relationships with other friends, he started to get upset and felt like I owed him my time and friendship. By the end of the semester, I had to end our relationship after he became hostile towards my other friends. As it was all unfolding, I felt guilty that I let this person hurt my friends because I didn’t trust myself in the beginning. While it’s important to put yourself out there, your comfort and safety always have to come first. If I never pushed myself beyond my social limit and trusted my gut feeling about that friend, I would’ve been in a better place to create more meaningful relationships. In the end, it all worked out because in future relationships I trusted my gut and ran for the hills when I felt uncomfortable or strange. Now I have the best group of funny supportive friends, who are always there for me when I need them.

If you’re looking for a great meal with friends, use this coupon for 15% percent off at Smashburger.

By Sidnie Paisley Thomas

Sidnie is a Sophomore at Emerson College in Boston studying creative writing and post-colonial literature. In her free time, you can find her hitting up her local thrift store, playing her favorite records, or reading a new book.

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