Social Networking and Social Life Are Not The Same Thing. Real Friends Hang Out In Person.

Published January 23, 2012 by jrm17

I finally have proof that no one is special and no one has truly original experiences.  I may even have proof that is better than those  at Psychology Today.  What makes me so smart?  Well, because there was a question posed to The Friendship Doctor that seemed to have her–the psychologist–perplexed and me, being the freak that I proudly am, have had this experience and can tell this person all about it.

You see this high-school girl didn’t really have a social life.  She had friends at school with whom she was very close but they never hung out outside of school.  They would part ways at break or on the weekends and come back together at school as if nothing happened.  She said they’s rarely exchange texts or Facebook comments and that she hated being the one to always suggest hanging out (Which rarely happened even when she asked).  However, she pointed out that they were actually very close and good friends.

I know exactly what she’s talking about.  In high school, I had my best friends–Camille, Morgan, Darby, and Jess.  With Morgan and Camille, we were an inseparable group.  We were some of the smartest and most active girls in the school.  We had all our honors and AP classes together and were always working in groups together.  We were in charge of almost all of the clubs and honor societies together.  We were all captains of our respective sports during the spring together.  Darby had been my best friend just as long as Camille and Morgan.  She used to play softball with me and she was in most of my classes as well.  Jess was on the softball team with me and in a few clubs with me.  I loved them all and was really close with all of them.  We spent all our time together during the week (or during softball season in Jess-sqaured’s case).  But then the weekend would come…

It was the same as the girl who asked the question’s experience.  We wouldn’t hang out (Seriously, we were lucky to see each other or ever send a text during the summer).  Darby was the only one who I really saw but that was because she basically lived at my house for a while and she lived pretty close.

Now, the psychologist in charge of the blog gave kind of good advice (I’m still not really sure how all of this is real psychology but it’s in Psychology Today so I’m going with it).  She told her to breach the subject with care and ask her friends about it because it was a very good chance that she wasn’t the only who felt this way.  But then the psychologist kind of lost me.  She suggested going to find other friends.  That’s great and all and would probably work but why should she just abandon her friends that she is close with (The girl said they were all very close and I’m a big fan of staying friends with those who have been along for the ride with you.  Plus, there’s the whole I hate change thing).  I’m sure making new friends at work or at a volunteer job is good advice.  All my friends are friends with the people they work with (Though not usually as close as this woman is suggesting).  And I am friends with everyone who volunteers with me for Habitat for Humanity ReStore but we don’t hang out outside of the store for the most part.  And this whole starting a Meet Up group, I don’t even know what that is (Apparently, it’s some thing where you make friends online…I think).  Really, all her advice seemed to insinuate that this girl’s friends sucked and she should make new ones.

That’s not exactly the case I’m going to oh-so boldly guess.  Why didn’t my friends and I hang out all that much?  Because we were busy…and IN HIGH SCHOOL.  We weren’t the party-every-weekend- sleep-over-and-never-stay-home kind of girls.  We were the I-need-to-get-all-my-homework-done-and-go-to-work-and-get-stuff-planned-for-clubs-and-then-maybe-find-time-to-sit-down-and-watch-TV-or-read kind of girls (Okay, Darby was partying every weekend but she’s a special child.  There are reasons why she almost got shot, knocking on my window at 3 AM…and those will all remain her story and her story alone).  When you have demanding classes, club functions, jobs, and sports, it’s hard to make time for your friends.  We understood that we each used the weekend to get everything done we needed to get done and then get that rare chance for quiet, alone time (Plus, we were all huge bookworms and trying to finish one quickly so we could pass it on to the others and move on to the next).

The whole being in high school thing is probably also a culprit in this problem arising.  Going out means you have to drive.  Well, you don’t get to drive alone until you’re 16.  Kind of an issue for a high schooler.  Plus, that means you need gas money.  Yeah, that requires a job usually (Thank you, Mommy and Daddy for paying for my gas) and that takes up time–leaving less time for friends.  Plus, where are you going to go?  Are you really going to be those annoying kids who wander around the mall thinking they can find a boyfriend or girlfriend?  You want to be a little cooler than that in high school.

I wish I could contact the girl who asked this question so I could give her a little bit better advice and hope.  She needs to know that it all gets better.  Once you graduate, you get time to hang out with your friends.  Everything is easier to balance.  Those who really are your friends, you’ll still see them every now and then and you will cherish the few times a year you get to see them (I see Camille maybe twice a year.  Jess and I meet every other month or so.  Darby, I see when she’s on leave from the Army and home.  But I talk to them all the time.  You start to see how much they mean to you).  You make your friends that will be there the rest of your life as well.  Being that I don’t exactly live on campus, I’m just going to make a conjecture based on the friendships of my friends that do live on campus–your college friends become your family because you live with them.  Your roommate is like your sister and you neighbors–who are your other close friends–are a really short walk away.  But even for me, I’ve made my friends that will be around forever.  Commuters sort of form their own little groups.  And Whitney is now one of my best friends.  But more than that, I’ve got Kat.  We don’t even go to the same school but we are able to find time around our class and work schedules to see each other.

High school is just a short period of your life.  Granted, it is a very important one that kind of paves the road for the rest of you life; it’s only a short time.  You don’t want to be one of those people who you hear about that peak in high school (I can’t wait until my reunions so I can make fun of those girls).  Yeah, I loved high school but that was only because I could get away with stuff and had awesome friends (It’s kind of a perk for being a good girl.  A 4.0, being on the board in like 7 clubs, and captain of the softball team kind of has it’s advantages).  But real life starts after all of that.  And real life is a whole lot more fun.

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