‘Adulting’ in College 101: Friends and Foes
College is about so many things, but for this post, I’ll focus on one: friendship. Learning independence, adaptability and how to be yourself are all really great things. But college friends will either stay for a long time or disappear when they’ve taken all they need. In navigating college friendships, you’ll have to learn to recognize a real friend from a foe as well as how to nurture a real friendship that comes along.
Okay – let me look up the true definition of friend. Be right back…
“One attached to another by affection or esteem…” – Merriam Webster Dictionary
That doesn’t say attached by commitment, classwork or study. Being able to spot a “friend” who just needs your assistance is a handy talent to have in college.
Friends for (Work) Life
“Hey, can we be friends just so you can help me with my assignments, tests and quizzes? Don’t worry, I’ll leave you alone after that.”
Um, :/ How would you honestly reply to that?
In reality, no one asks a question like that. Instead of asking for help with something up front, they may appear to be a true friend until you’ve helped with what they needed and then they are no longer available. WATCH OUT! This is a FOE. It’s okay to offer help where you can, but you also have to be wise. You don’t want to be stressed and overly committed to doing assignments that aren’t your own. If you find that you always help a ‘friend’ with various assignments, but there’s always an excuse for why they can’t help you, then it may be time to re-evaluate. If helping becomes a distraction from your homework or studying, you may need to say no sometimes. Not because you don’t know how to help, but because you, too, have things to take care of. Try not to allow a ‘leech’ into your daily routine. It can and will wear you out!
Cut Them Off
With reference to the above scenario, the ability to speak up after realizing that you’re being used is crucial. No, it’s not war in the Amazon, but there are people who will try to take advantage of your brain: They get you to do their work and leave you high and dry to struggle with your own. It’s one thing to willingly offer help, knowing that it’s a one way street, but sometimes we don’t realize that it’s one way until it’s too late.If you begin to feel used in any way at all, let the person know. OR, you can find a way subtly end the ‘friendship’. Either way, staying in what might’ve become a parasitic relationship is no good for your focus, and it is best to speak up or act before you burn out.
The Real Ones
Yes, the real ones! You know, the people who actually contribute to your life in a positive and meaningful way? Yes – those people.
These are the ones you want to keep around no matter how tough things get. And regardless of how crazy school becomes, they’re always up for helping when they can – even if that means letting you cry on their shoulder at 4 o’clock in the morning due to academic stress. Try not to shut these people out no matter how busy you get, because, at the end of the day, we all need someone to call a friend at some point.