What Do I Owe You? An Exasperated Reflection on What it Means to be a Friend

I have never questioned what friendship really is more than I did in my sophomore year of college. After freshman year, I had established a small but solid group of friends, all of whom I care about deeply. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much they let me in…

I have always been a very reserved person when it comes to sharing my personal life with others. Some  of this is a product of ever-present insecurity, as well as cringeworthy memories of moments when I spoke rashly. Regardless of its origin, this trait has manifested itself in my friendships in a more noticable way than I realized until recently. Even those I am closest too and am most comfortable do not often hear details about my family, my past, etc. I even avoid expressing strong emotions in front of most friends as well. And until this past year, no one has ever demanded to know.

I do not think that anyone ever owes another person their life  story, regardless of how close they may be to each other. This is not snobbery, but an observation. I have been told by a close friend or two that they feel they dont really know me because they don’t know the details of my past, but I disagree. You do not have to be an open book to have strong, valuable, and honest friendships; you need only let them peek at the pages you carefully select, and be honest. Things may be revealed with time, piece by piece. What matters is not that someone knows who you were before your friendship, but that they take the time to get to know you as you are in the present.

Perhaps I am old fashioned, eccentric, or just wrong about this   topic. Even so, it seems that I can’t be the only one. At the end of the day, I hold fast to this: be honest and kind; a true friend does not look for utility, or make demands of the other. 

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