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Honestly, friendship is a touchy topic for me. Back in elementary and high school, whenever my mom said something like, “What is your friend's name,” or “Is she your friend?” I always corrected her and said, “That’s not my friend, that’s my schoolmate.” Mostly because my mom calls everybody I talk to a friend, even if I only talked to them once. But anyways, the point is, a friend to me is much more than talking to someone a couple of times. A friend is someone you can trust, someone you can confide in, and someone you can go to anytime for help. I get that there can be different levels to friendship; some friends may be good for some things, while others are good for something else. You can know a lot of people, but can you really call all of them your friends? No, they are called acquaintances, in my opinion.
My thoughts, opinions, views, and experiences with friendship are all over the place, but I'm going to try to put it down in writing, to help myself and probably someone else out there. At first, I was not looking for friendship, I did not consciously make an effort to make friends—this was at the age of about five to 12 years. I just went to school, I was myself, I talked to people, some more often than others, and went on with life. So I’ll be lying if I told you I knew how my friendships started, but what I do know is thinking about who is my friend and how to make friends wasn’t keeping me up at night. I just made friends.
In elementary school, I had three really good friends, I still remember them very well and we had some really good memories. But fast forward to high school: I sort of took the same attitude I had towards friendship in elementary school into high school. But I guess people became smarter—that’s what happens, right? You just become smarter as you age and progress in classes. So, I would say people were more aware and conscious of the kids they were talking to and hanging out with. In junior secondary school one (JSS1, equivalent to grade seven of middle school), I found myself liking a particular person and I wanted to be their friend—and one thing about me is I'm not a fan of cliques or groups of friends, I just want one person to be able to talk to and call my good friend, or a best friend if you will. And I would say we were getting there, but then they left the school in the next grade, JSS2. I was heartbroken. 🙁
Then in JSS2, again, I found myself befriending someone else and we were good. I loved our friendship, I thought we would remain friends forever, but then again, they left the school in the next grade. At this point, I was done. I was so hurt, I thought to myself why me, don’t I deserve best friends? So, after that I sort of put up a wall when it came to friendship. But I decided to just talk to everybody, or be acquaintances with everyone. I sort of let everyone in each class in my grade know me in some way, and I would randomly put myself in the midst of students in other classes in my grade when I could just to mingle. It went on for a while until I became jealous of a certain group of friends. Just two people actually, it wasn’t bad jealousy, but I told them that I liked their friendship and I wish I had that, because as you know, I was looking for a friend at some point in high school. They were kind enough to include me in stuff and one thing led to another, I became closer with just one of them, we were very close—best friends for a while, everybody in my grade knew it—but things ended because the friendship sort of went in an opposite direction I wasn’t happy with. That hurt, but I was fine and I did find my current best friend later on in high school, who I love to pieces.
Now, fast forward again to university: Here I wasn’t looking for a best friend, I have one, so I was just looking for friends. I was in a new country and you need friends; my best friend was not in the same country as I was. If I get into all of my friendship escapades, more like feelings to myself, you’ll probably think I'm too sensitive, if you don’t already think that, but one friendship did hurt me. I felt abandoned by someone who I thought was a friend. We were really good at some point. At first, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt, saying we are all grownups, we have stuff to do, and we have things keeping us busy so whatever. But I always kept reaching out, calling, and texting with no replies. Once they responded, but then they were gone again. Some people may say that’s just what happens, people grow apart—not to me, clearly, because I didn’t grow apart and I was still reaching out. I complained about it to the people, or rather, the person closest to me. I was hurt, and even until today wonder why, but I realized that you can’t go chasing after people who don’t want you. Friendship is a two-way street, so you have to put in the effort. I also have to put in the effort for anything to work out. I have close friends now, so I realized I didn’t need this person, I have people that are there for me. I realized it hurt so much because I was the one wanting this friendship, when they might not even give a rat’s face about it. So yes, with all this story I've just laid out, that’s my conclusion: As you get older, keeping or having a friend takes more effort, not like my good old elementary school days. As I aged, I made an effort to make my friends, and when I stopped putting in the effort, I was a freelancer 😀 with no close friend, but then I put in more effort to make my best friend. So, you see people, friendship takes effort. Even though it can be hard sometimes, I myself just want to sit back and just have friends, but it doesn’t work like that. And I'm still working on being a better friend to people, but what I'm not going to do is waste my time on people who aren't giving me the time or day when I do.