Short Trips and Long Friendships

This is Andrea.
Andrea is dope.

What’s even more dope about Andrea is the fact that we still remain friends after meeting by chance at an amazing event last summer, called Google BOLD Immersion. I wasn’t exactly sure that I’d ever see her again, being that she lives 1,000 miles away from me in New York.

You know the story.

You meet someone new and instantly hit it off, promising to make plans and catch up. One of you texts the other, but your schedules don’t align for a week or so, so you drop the plans. The next time you run into each other, you’re told how “so incredibly much” you’ve been missed and how you all “must catch up.” But do you? Nope.

Now I know we’re all busy, but it’s occurring to me more and more how intentional friendships must be.

Back to Andrea.

After we left Google BOLD Immersion, we stayed in contact via text and found out how much we had in common. We both had really interesting relationships with religion, were interviewing for the same internship, and loved reading about psychology and behavioral economics. (I just realized how boring I made us sound, but I promise we’re actually really cool.) Combine that with our perfectly complementing personalities (me, the candid extrovert, and Andrea, the charmingly conscientious introvert) and I swear, it was like I’d met my soulmate!


Two months later, I found myself planning a trip to New York to see her. Of course it helps that it’s my favorite city on earth, but as I was preparing to travel, this trip really made me think more deeply about the types of relationships I’d had with people on campus. If Andrea can find room for me in her Upper West Side apartment and I can find money for a plane ticket, why is it just oh so impossible for me to grab lunch with someone who “loves me so much” across the street from campus?

News flash, it’s not.

Aside from reminding me how boring Gainesville is, spending this time in New York really showed me that people make time for who and what they want. If someone wants to see you, they will. If they never do, you probably weren’t high enough on their priority list.

As harsh as this may sound, I want to emphasize one more thing:

That’s totally okay.

You can’t have 500 quality friends. It’s literally impossible, unless you have some sort of vocation that pays you to have friends. (If anyone knows of this job, please sign me up.) What is possible though, is to nourish and grow the friendships that you do have. Call your distant friends instead of texting them or posting a Facebook message on their birthday. When you ask your friends, “how are you?” make sure that you really intend to listen to the answer instead of just expecting the standard “good.” And lastly, give to give. It’s so incredibly fulfilling.

According to this TED Talk by Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, the number one indicator of happiness over a 75-year study of people from different backgrounds, races, and socioeconomic statuses was quality of relationships. Don’t weigh yourself down with people who aren’t aligned with your values or interests anymore. Up until the end of high school, lots of people in our lives are simply friends of circumstance. You go to the same school or play the same sport and bond over a basic commonality. But now, we have so much more autonomy in choosing where we are, what we do, and who we do it with.

Live your life in environments that stimulate you, working a profession that energizes you, and with people that fulfill you, like these two gems, Andrea and Thiale.





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