Throughout my whole high school career, popularity seemed to be the most important thing. It was more important than my studies in a way. It took all my energy to find people to hang out with and to go to parties. In a way, it was a full-time job. In the end, I did have a lot of friends, but most of them I hated. I haven’t spoken to any of my high school friends in at least four years.
By high school standards, today I would be considered popular. I have a lot of ‘friends’ that I go do all sorts of fun things with. However, there’s only a handful of people I would call on a bad day. If I am going through a rough patch or want to dissect some deeply rooted childhood trauma, there are only about three people I can count on to make me feel better. But none of us live in the same country.
I’m currently living in Berlin, but when I lived in Egypt, I had so many friends. It was exciting and new, something I didn’t take for granted. It was exciting to go to so many house parties, clubs, and bars with what seemed like an endless amount of new friends and classmates.
I remember one instance I went to a friends house party. I was having so much fun there. We were dancing, drinking, and playing games. But a few hours into the party I got a text with some bad news. I felt horrible. I wanted someone to talk to about it. I looked at the room around me and realized there was no one I felt comfortable sharing this news with.
I was standing in a room of twenty people who were all oblivious to my sudden sadness. I was surrounded by people I thought were my friends but suddenly I felt so alone. I quickly left the party, claiming I was tired and called up my best friend. From more than six thousand miles away, she was able to console me, give me advice, and cheer me up.
There are many things I’ve come to realize as an adult. How much my parents did for me and how fast vegetables go bad when you’re the one buying them. Yet the most important thing I’ve learned is the worth of a true friend. Your true friends will pick up the phone in the middle of the night if you’re having a breakdown. They’ll be the ones that you have the happiest memories with or who you call with the good and the bad news.
Yet the most important thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how many friends you have. It’s the quality of the friends over the quantity.