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Many of my Sunday reflections the past two months have been about friendship. It’s importance and my struggles. Or how summer camp makes me feel. This past week I have made a new friend, a sophomore in the new group of people I am working to become friends with. We have been acquaintances all year, and I would have called her a friend in passing. Last weekend, though, we had a breakthrough that will allow our relationship to grow into a strong friendship if we wish. We were vulnerable with each other.
The evening started out simple enough. We had both gone to All Saints/All Souls mass and went out for ice cream with a group of people afterwards. We stayed up late playing cards in a mutual friend’s dorm room. The evening had the right tone, and it was late enough we were able to make joking comments we wouldn’t on, say, a Wednesday afternoon. But nothing too out there. After all, we were sober and this was a Christian group of people.
We both left to go to bed at the same time, and it was these joking comments that allowed us to carry on a conversation as we walked out onto campus. She had said some things in the past that made me feel comfortable taking our talk in a certain direction. She was the first to be vulnerable and open herself to judgement. I was the one that took the plunge and launched a conversation.
These were the sequences of events that led to us standing outside when it was in the 30’s, talking until one in the morning. We learned that each of us had felt incredibly alone for years, feeling like we had no one to talk to and share our struggles with. We were so scared of being judged, and yet we found each other, both struggling with similar problems. As the conversation went on, I found we had more and more in common.
This long talk gave me the confidence to ask this new friend to lunch. Our conversation started superficial, as most lunch talks do, but before I knew it we were talking about our struggles once more, this time in a completely different are of our lives. All it took was a moment of bravery and the ability to be vulnerable.
Because of this vulnerability, we both have someone to go to if we need to talk. We both have someone who we know won’t judge us. We both have someone to call a friend.
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