Friendships near and far

Now that I’m back home on winter break, I’ve had a chance to reconnect with my hometown of Woodstock, IL, and touch base with some of my old friends. By talking with them and thinking about my high school friendships as compared with those I’ve formed in college, I can see the differences in the nature of the two and how those differences have allowed me to maintain some of my old friendships.

The transition from high school to college is not an easy one. An entire class of individuals is suddenly broken apart, some going around the world, some only the next town over. It’s an odd time for friendships as well because it’s one of the few moments in life when you should have only your own self interests at heart. Because I wanted to go into different fields from my friends, we all went in different directions.

However, I think that it was the tugging and stretching of those individual bonds that helped them to endure. In college, my main social interaction revolves around group dynamics. I get together with my college friends to work and party; rarely is there any one-on-one conversing. This is different from my Woodstock friends. At home, large groups are nearly impossible to get together. Instead, I hang out with two or three of my good friends and focus my attention on them. We know each other’s houses. We know each other’s families. Because of this, I am closer to them than most of my college friends even though I live on campus.

There’s also another, more modern reason why my bonds with my Woodstock friends are so strong – it’s the fact that it’s so easy to keep in touch. Back in the day (and by ‘day’ I mean ten years ago) people had to use archaic methods to stay in contact, means like the telephone or the postal service. In the twenty-first century, however, devices like AOL Instant Messenger allow me to bump into my friends on the internet, as if we were all at some kind of perpetual cocktail party.

My instant messenger buddy list is always open. It makes homework go by so much quicker to know that a chat with a friend is only a click away. It’s even somehow comforting to have a chat box open even if there’s not much conversing going on.

It makes perfect sense that Instant Messenger maintains my high school friendships. The dynamics of those relationships are more singular and instant messaging is a one-on-one typed conversation. Yes there are group chats, but, let’s face it, only nerdy gamers and business people use those. For those who know me, you can tell that last statement contained a smidge of irony.

So as the holiday season comes to a close, I’m glad that I’ve had a lot of fun in groups at college, but also that I’ve maintained such good relationships with my friends from home. I have them, and AOL, to thank for that.

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: