Letters to New Friends

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Note to everyone: this is a rendition of an older post, called “Letters to Old Friends.” But it’s to my new ones…so yeah. Why am I doing this? Because I want to. Also, I don’t really have the guts to say this to their face – but I’m working on that! Plus, I’ve learned a lot from my new friends, so for me, this is also a post that reflects on what other people have taught me. So here we go.

By the way, if you know me, please don’t come up to me and ask which one is or if one is about you. Part of the fun is that everyone is ambiguous – so let’s try to keep it that way.

Dear A,

We met freshman year – how? Well, I sort of remember seeing you in public and getting immediately intimidated. You’re incredibly beautiful, and I know you hate it when people tell you that, but it’s true. The thing is, though, I never understood why you hated it. You were intriguing, also, because you were nothing like I expected. The girls who look like you from my high school (if that makes any sense) were not very nice. In fact, they took joy in bullying and gossiping about people.

No, but you. You’re the sweetest person I have ever met. I never thought my best friend could be the sweetest person, because I’ve always struggled to embody this character over the past few years. You entered my life when I hated my body, and every time I said something negative or demeaning to my self-confidence, you slapped my hand away. This shows you’re caring and genuine. You cared about me and we knew each other for less than a year.

After going through that anorexic period of hell, I realized something. There is only so much I can do to control my looks, and being skinny wasn’t making me feel any better about myself. If anything, it made me feel worse. Some people called me sick. Some people called me beautiful. But what is beautiful about the parts of you that you can’t control? Who wants to be seen only as a pretty face?

You are so much more than that, though. You handle me in ways that nobody has been able to. You straighten me out when I act petty or in jealousy. You are incredibly athletic (I’ve seen you run and play sports). After countless hours of studying, I can say that not only are you ridiculously smart, but you work hard for everything you have. Even though you have a boyfriend, you’re extremely independent, which is a trait that I aspire to have, as well. I admire you so much, and don’t ever forget that.

Dear B,

You taught me a lesson that I didn’t think I needed to learn: never judge a book by its cover.

When I first saw you, I thought you were the classic, southern, WASPY person. Bland. Probably was going to get on my nerves. I didn’t hate you (for sure, I had no feelings about at all), but I never expected how much I was going to like you.

I appreciate you so much, because you taught me that. You like weird music. You’ve had interesting experiences. You have exciting dreams. You’re a little bizarre in a way that I never even thought was possible. There is something incredibly intriguing about you that makes me want to learn more…and I don’t know what it is. I can’t point my finger to it because I feel like your persona is just the big haze that I would have to work through to figure out who you are. Which is strange, because I consider you to be a fairly open person.

You are leaving soon, though, and, to be honest, I may never see you again in my life. So with this, I want to leave you with one little piece of advice: have a little more confidence in yourself. When I look at you, I see this huge puzzle because the exterior doesn’t match the interior or the exterior makes assumptions that the interior doesn’t express (does that make sense?). You are a truly intriguing person, and despite your messed-up past, your future is what you make it. You get to decide how you live and if you have aspirations to travel and live life to its fullest, even if that means having kids and settling down one day, you need to believe in yourself. If you don’t, then you’re not living. You’re just not dying.

Dear C,

I met you in France and was a little intimidated by you, as well. Well, officially, when I first met you, this was before I travelled abroad. I remember this moment to the detail because I remember how scared I felt on the inside. You had sat down next to me, smiled with your bright, blue eyes at me, and introduced yourself. I smiled back and responded, but felt a little drained (probably because it was already a long and tiring day).

You are so beautiful. You probably already know this, but you are: both inside and out. Honestly, you may be my closest friend. I don’t know why, but I’ve never been able to talk to someone as easily as I’ve been able to talk to you. When I do share information about myself to others, even guys that I have dated, they don’t seem to understand why I think the way I do. Why I’m so active. Why I deal with the issues I have. Why I’m so competitive and ambitious. When I talk to them, they sit back at me and stare blankly as if I’m speaking a completely different language.

But you never did that to me. You are one of the nicest, most understanding, and sympathetic people I’ve ever met. In a way, I think you’re right, though: I am a younger version of you. But a little bit more…high-strung. You’re teaching me how to control my gossip, because, honestly now that I think about it, gossip dominated a lot of my conversations. Why? Well, because I never wanted to talk about myself. And I had no idea what else there was to talk about. With you, I try to break down these bad habits as best as I can because you HATE gossip. That’s an admirable trait that you don’t see in most people.

I’m going to miss you so much next year. A part of me wishes that you were two years younger because then we could grow together. You’ve helped me appreciate what’s around me a little bit more, and for that I will forever be grateful.

Dear D,

Friendliest person I’ve met. Hands down. Also one of the most approachable, but also one of the most self-conscious (in the healthiest way possible). You know your place in this world, and it’s nice and refreshing to see a bit of realism and optimism mixed together.

I don’t like to cry in front of people – it makes me look weak and pathetic. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never encountered moments where I want to melt down into puddle of tears and just pour out my angst and sadness. I didn’t think I could do that with anyone, including you. However, when that moment came, though, I was a goner.

The worst part is that I called you at 11:30 at night before school started the next morning. I half expected you to hang up throughout my complaining and blubbering to go to sleep, because that’s what a normal person would do. But you’re not normal – in fact, you are so much better than normal. You stayed with me for two hours and I’m so grateful that you did, because I really needed someone there with me that night. You genuinely cared about how I felt and what I was thinking. And unlike most people, not only did you give me advice or feedback, but you also listened. That’s the best gift that anyone could ever ask for. It is so hard to get people to listen nowadays to what you’re genuinely saying, which is why half my conversations go hay-wire or they consist of me listening to what other people have to say rather than rattling off about my life story. That’s just not going to happen.

I don’t know why, but it’s also very easy to talk to you. I can’t believe that almost all my closest friends are leaving next year, you being one of them, but I honestly want to spend more time with you. I miss your presence and your constant support. And most of all, your friendship – I value it so much. You have no idea.

Dear E,

We met last year and we didn’t really know each other then. I hung out with you a few times, but I never really felt like I knew you that well. We had a lot of mutual friends. We had a lot of similar interests. We were the same major. But I didn’t really get much depth. And I didn’t really understand how much I meant to you as a friend until the Paris attacks.

I learned a lot from that – I didn’t realize who my true friends were until the ones who were “true” thought I was dead for at least 30 seconds. Those were 30 seconds, but those 30 seconds were moments where people cared to know if I was dead or alive. And that’s heartening in itself – you realize who cares about you and who thinks you are worth worrying about.

You were one of those people. I was a little surprised, overall, because I didn’t think anyone cared if I was dead or alive during those attacks. Well, maybe not “cared” – I just didn’t think I’d be the first thought that popped in people’s minds when they heard of the terrible news. For that, I also didn’t realize how much I care about you. Now that I think about this in reciprocity, I may actually let an audience see me cry if our roles were reversed and you had actually died.

I came back and we became inseparable. You are so cool. Not only are you quirky and cute and intriguing as hell, but you are also incredibly smart and conscientious of everything that happens around you. I always thought of you as the funny kid that could make anyone laugh, and you still are. Except now, I just see a bunch of other amazing traits piled on top. Please don’t change – and I’m so glad you’re not graduating because you’re one of the only people who I don’t want to leave my life.

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