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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: Don’t lose sight of who your friends are


A couple days ago, I was scrolling through my messages to find my friend’s number to send her something. I watched names disappear over the top of my screen as I continued my search. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d texted some of these people in my phone, people I'd worked on projects with and friends from high school. 

I noticed some texts I'd sent weeks ago had never gotten a response, texts I'd sent to some of my closest friends from high school. Maybe they’d forgotten to respond, maybe they never saw the message. Did my text asking them how they were not mean anything to them? 

Ever since I started college, I told myself I’d try to be more outgoing and talkative. I didn’t want to feel left out or not have any friends. Even though I oftentimes saw groups and groups of people walking together, happy to have found their own group, I made an effort to make new friends and not remain stuck on the idea of cliques. I didn’t need to belong to a set group to be happy; I could be friends with multiple people who didn’t have to know each other. 

In my pursuit to cultivate new friendships, I still made an effort to keep in touch with older friends from high school. They still mattered to me, and I didn’t want to lose touch with them just because I went to school two miles down the road from them. 

Even though I'd check in with some cross country teammates every few weeks and occasionally asked to hang out, after a while, their responses slowed. Eventually, I almost never got any responses back from some, and I didn’t want to be the awkward person who texted two or three times and potentially bother them. 

People's lack of communication made me sad and upset; it felt like these friends of mine were in a way ghosting me. What had I done to them? Did they not like me anymore? Should I have done something different? What did I have to do to get a response from them? I felt like simply asking them how they were doing was not an urgent enough text to get a response back. And even if I did occasionally get a response, it didn’t go further than “good, you?” 

[Related: COLUMN: That cross country nostalgia hits different]

I was the only one left trying in that friendship.  

I understand people get busy and overwhelmed with school and life. I do too. Sometimes, there’s so much going on that it’s hard to talk to many people at once; it may take effort to reconnect with an old friend and keep that conversation going. And it’s true that you may lose friends when transitioning from high school to college. Maybe you guys didn’t click that much or didn’t stay in touch from the get-go. 

But if you make an effort to stay in touch and maintain that friendship, I don’t think there are many excuses that justify ghosting someone. If you really care about someone, you should put in the effort to stay in touch. Even if your schedules may not align, even if you’re not good at texting, you can still cultivate a friendship. If someone in the friendship is trying to keep it alive, you shouldn’t turn them down and not respond or try to hang out. It's a sign they care, and you should embrace their effort to stay friends with you, even if you’re overwhelmed or don’t think you have time. 

There are so many ways to reconnect with friends. Getting coffee is one of my favorite things to do that helps us catch up. Going on walks or runs is also a way I try to reconnect with people. Baking, or any kind of cooking, can also help reduce the awkwardness of reconnecting after a while apart. 

Maybe you don’t even realize you’re shutting your friend out. But if they mean something to you, amid all the chaos, you’ll find time for them.  

 Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian. 

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