The Importance of Friendship

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn

Image Credit: Caroline Flynn


Last September when my friend Maghan walked into my new apartment for the first time, tears welled up in her eyes. “It’s so lonely,” she said, overwhelmed by the pure adultness of the empty white walls and Ikea furniture. Annoyed and uncomprehending, I pushed her through the remaining 24 feet of the apartment to the window where my bed sat. “It’s not lonely. It’s perfect. And look I even have a real New York City fire escape.”

Today though, I know what she means. Summer in New York is much different than the school year. The city itself seems to sweat on even the mildest of days, the streets are crawling with tourists who wander aimlessly into your path, and all traces of college life disappear. As I sit on my real New York City fire escape, the people below are unfamiliar and my thoughts drift to faces I do know, some who are in New York and some who are not, some who I’ve seen recently and some who I haven’t. Regardless of distance and time, real life isolates me on this fire escape and loneliness creeps in as jobs, bills, and adult responsibility seem to push everyone separate ways. I feel like it didn’t used to be this way. Summers between high school were filled with constant contact and group messages, day plans and night plans and weekend plans, part time jobs and the comfort of your family home at the end of the day. Maybe I wasn’t quite prepared to be one of 8.5 million people living and working in New York City this summer.

Academic and professor of linguistics Deborah Tannen says in her book You’re the Only One I Can Tell, “Knowing that somewhere in the world there is someone who cares what you wore, an insignificant detail of your life that would seem unimportant to anyone else, makes you feel more connected to that person and less alone in the world.” This small action of sharing is capable of piercing distance and time, wiping out loneliness, and reinstating the comfort of someone else’s joys and sorrows.

The other night, my best friend and I met up with a classmate we hadn’t seen since school got out in May. During the school year, the three of us talked often and saw each other daily in class, but it had been two months since we’d all been in the same room. The conversation that night was a breath of fresh air, air that you can’t get in a city sitting alone in your room. Air that might even be hard to find in the countryside. Each breath carried new laughter and love, new stories to be shared, new heartbreaks to be healed, new plans to be made as we all felt a sense of relief from the summer’s overbearing humidity. There is nothing better in the world than long conversations that flow endlessly and seamlessly. Even as we grow up, even as we drift apart, even as we get heavy work schedules and full time jobs, even as new people in our lives come and go, it will always be hard to feel completely alone if you can make the effort to keep up friendships and conversations.

A relationship that can withstand crowds of people, state or country borders, and days and weeks of not seeing each other is a strong one. Slowly I am learning that the bond is there even if they are physically not. So next time I find myself sitting on my fire escape, reminiscing the days when making friends was more important than making money and building my resume, I’ll remind myself that although there might be a thousand people between me and the next familiar face, the familiar face is the one that matters.

By Caroline Flynn

Caroline Flynn is a Sales and Publishing Intern at the Campus Clipper studying Theatre at NYU Tisch. Caroline is passionate about the arts and dedicated to using her voice to make other people smile. As she heads into her Junior year, she is excited to be writing about how relationships have shaped her life while she takes on summer in the city for the first time. Check out her Instagram for more witty and heartfelt content on her life. 

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