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The Difference Between “Friends,” and Friends

Sahiba Kaur

Picture this: you’ve just gotten out of your second-period class – maybe you had math or econ with Collins (god knows that’s tough) – and the first thing you do is walk over down the hall to your friends and greet them with a smile. It’s natural, it’s normal behavior; you would never even think of going to that girl you “know” from English, you would never talk to her aside from class or ask her to join you for lunch– she has her friends, her own life.

We, as high school students, make friends and “make friends.” That girl from English class, for example. She’s your “friend”: you’re never mean to her nor is she to you. However, she is not someone you would talk to about your day, talk to about your crush, or, well, invite to lunch. You have your bubble of friends, and she has hers. Yet, why is this? Why is it that we have two levels of friendship? Why are we closer to some people than others? Is it because we have more in common with the people that are our friends? But then again, how would we know what we do or do not have in common with that girl from English if we’ve never truly talked to her?

This idea of social groups – which is defined by Wikipedia as “two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and have a collective sense of unity” – could, to a certain extent, be applied to your relationship with the girl from English. You are 1) two humans, and 2) interact with one another, meaning to a particular extent share some characteristics; even if you hated each other, your mutual hatred for one another is shared. But in this hypothetical, you do not. Hence, your friendliness to one another is what is bonding you; all in all, you are unified. Social groups make no sense whatsoever, yet we could never imagine our lives without them.

Now, I do not give advice that I would never follow, so do not make friends with the girl from English. Stay in your high school bubble, but when — not if – that bubble does pop, don't go insane. Actively going out of your way to make friends with people is a lot of work and something that high schoolers don’t tend to do. But if presented with the opportunity of perhaps expanding said bubble, don't be totally against it. Don’t think that your life needs to be exclusive to your posse. Humans are social creatures, but if you cannot feel comfortable and delighted with yourself, you can’t satisfy your friends. Our interactions with people make us feel as though our experiences are shared — we feel inclined to share our sadness and have people empathize with us, consequently, we want our loved ones to feel our happiness. Anyway, I’m sure most people won't take my advice, most people will remain in their bubble, still, it is interesting to think about how even for a day we didn’t have our “friends,” or our friends, our lives would be drastically different. How we would have to start from zero, rebuild relationships, find our besties, and our girl from English.