I’ve said it before on DormEssentials and I’ll say it again, college is one of the best times in your life. Specifically because you are surrounded by friends with open schedules who are down to go on adventures, and still using their parent’s credit card—just like you are. You’ll make some lifelong connections in these four—or five—years, but...there are some college friendships to be wary of as well.
I’ve made a handful of best friends, tons of close girlfriends, and hundreds of fun acquaintances throughout college, and there are many I still keep in contact with. I’ve also met people who I clicked with immediately, and will never allow back into my life after s**t hit the fan (which is even more disgusting and accurate of a metaphor when you share a living space with them).
Through my own experiences, my friends’ falling out experiences, and my minor in Communication (I’m using my degree!) I think I’ve found a way to tell whether the college friendship will last—at least through your early 20’s, who knows what having kids does to people—or if it’s mean to be left in the frat bathroom it started in.
See the two roommates on your floor who are inseparable, and have basically dedicated all of their Insta Stories to proclaiming how they’re each other’s #ParnterInCrime even though they met like, a week ago? I guarantee there’s no need to be envious, as they’ll undoubtedly have a fight before midterms that will end the friendship forever, creating the thickest tension you’ve ever had to feel in a communal bathroom. When two people feel they’ve found their soul mate in a matter of minutes, it’s usually because they rode the high of their similarities rather than learning to understand their differences.
Real best friends and connections are made over time. A good cliché to reference is that of an onion. When getting to know people, you want to slowly pull back the layers, starting with surface level topics, moving your way through political opinions, maybe then secrets and past traumas, and so on. Labeling someone as your BFF just because they binge the same Netflix shows and are always down to go to Greek Row on a Tuesday is practically the friend version of saying, “I love you” within the first three weeks of dating.
Don’t get me wrong, clicking with someone is important. Feeling mutual respect and understanding from someone through the back and forth of a funny bit is an amazing feeling! Why wouldn’t you want that person to continue to show up in your life? But when friendship takes a turn towards obsession or dependency, that’s when it’s time to pump the breaks and reevaluate.
A big red flag to note is how this person deals with conflict. Do they constantly reference past falling out’s with old best friends? Do they become the nastiest, most manipulative version of themselves when they fight with you or others? An easy—but ultimately upsetting—out is when you two have your first fight and they completely quit on the friendship. They refuse to revive it, regardless of how much you attempt to talk things through. In this situation, cut your losses and scram. You’re better off with one less toxic relationship in your life, and you can take this moment to reflect on the true colors you’ve just been exposed to.
Before you leave this article a nihilistic skeptic towards college friendships, just remember: any relationship is a two way street. Be a good friend to have a good friend, and all that Aesop jazz. So as you step off into the wild world that is dorm life, remember that shared core values and boundaries created over time are more telling of a strong friendship over how perfect your Insta aesthetics complement each other’s.