Dear High Schoolers: Be Good To Your Friends

I don’t know at what point I got lucky enough to truly value my friendships.  Maybe it was the summer before second grade.  Our house had burned down and we were taken in by many families in our town.  It is hard to remember how long I stayed at each place, but I was never afraid.  I don’t think it’s normal to worry about homelessness when you lose your home at the ripe old age of seven, but I didn’t have to find out.  Our friends (my parents’ friends) stepped up and made sure we had a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.  

There were definitely times, especially in high school, when I can look back and wish I hadn’t wasted so much time focusing on relationships that weren’t that important.  I was definitely a girl who could get caught up with a boyfriend.  Not that romantic relationships aren’t valuable, but sometimes we can devote too much time to them.  The truth is, most of the time, the guy you’re dating in high school isn’t going to grow up and marry you.  And even if he does, jeez!  Do you really want to spend your ENTIRE life with JUST HIM?  Listen, girl.  LISTEN.  I know your heart is aflutter.  I know he is the best person you’ve ever met and you just can’t imagine going on without him, but girl.  I promise.  I PROMISE YOU.  You need more than just a boyfriend.  Boyfriends come and go, but friends last a lifetime.  Even husbands.  Perfectly wonderful-hard working-good fathering-funny-smart husbands need a break from you.  And you need a break from them too.

The relationships that young people *Yes, I’m young, but not to high schoolers.  One called me “Ma’am” the other day.*  tend to neglect are the ones that have the potential to last a lifetime.  One of you is going to get divorced.  One of you is going to lose a child or a parent.  One of you is going to have a baby in the NICU.  One of you is going to experience some crazy life changing tragedy that none of you could have ever predicted.  You are going to need each other.  You are going to grow up and have a great life, but with the grown up world comes grown up challenges, and ya’ll.  It is no joke.  Building and maintaining those friendships you’ve made when you’re a kid can provide the foundation of a lifetime.

There is nothing like the shared experiences you have in high school and college.  Whatever you’ve done to Susie to tick her off, you’d better go make up.  Seriously.  WHATEVER it was.  Even if it was big.  Did you kiss her boyfriend?  Why did you kiss her boyfriend?  Not cool.  Just tell her you’re sorry and DON’T KISS HER BOYFRIEND ANYMORE.  Cherish your friendship.  One day, you’re going to need Ol’ Susie Q.  You might be lucky enough to find some good friends as you get older (I have), but they are few and far between.  I lost touch with a few good friends when I moved away for college, but luckily, we still contact each other and get together occasionally.  One of my very best friends and I lost touch for probably 6 months when we were off doing our own thing, but made the effort to recognize that we needed to talk more often.  And we did.  I was there when she delivered her precious baby girl.  This is it, kiddos.  These people you’re hanging out with right now.  The ones with braces.  The ones who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. The ones who come over and eat poptarts and watch TV with you.  Those.  They are the ones who deserve your attention right now-and forever.  If they’re worthy of your friendship, keep them.  Don’t let them go.  As you go your separate ways, make a deal to call each other-and actually do it.  These are the people who will be there when it all gets too real.

Any time anything happens to me, positive or negative, there is a tight-knit circle of friends that I HAVE to tell.  I want to know about their days.  I want to know about their positive and negatives.  I cheer them on and they cheer me on.  I can’t imagine life without my friends, but I can look back at how easy it would have been to lose contact.  We have all moved away from each other and it would be so easy to just live my busy life and not make time, except it wouldn’t.  Because as we grow and our lives move so quickly and our kids are throwing yogurt on the floor and our jobs are tiring and our hair is greasy and piled atop of our exhausted, overwhelmed heads, our friends are there to bring us back down to earth.

If this post made you think of someone, note it.  Call them.  Keep them.

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