I never knew how important it is to have girl friends before this year.

When I was a kid, most of my friends were boys. I liked them better because I liked things like Lego Star Wars and Acceleracers model cars and most of the girls I knew didn’t like that stuff. And my two girl friends at the time were very pushy, always fighting and starting some childish drama. Even at that age I didn’t like drama.

When I went to high school, my best friend left for another school, and I had to start over fresh. The friends I picked ended up being selfish. I made the mistake of trusting my best friend at the time with a secret, and she not only told anybody that secret but she exaggerated the story so it was no longer true. I had to field annoying questions for a whole year about an incident that didn’t even happen. After that, I didn’t have a group of friends that I felt comfortable with.

I made friends later on in high school that I had a great time with but I didn’t feel that emotionally connected to. We didn’t share the same values or perspectives on many things, and I often felt trapped in their drama. I actually dreaded going to college and having to make yet another new set of friends, because I was expecting to be let down again.

But I was so wrong.

The girls I have met so far are right on my wavelength. I’m not a people person, but I live with them and I don’t get tired of them so that should tell you something about their mellowness. We share ideas and interests and we have the same level of energy. When I’m feeling lazy but too shy to express to the group that I just want to watch movies, someone else will bring it up first and I’m left feeling amazed at how well we get along.

They know how to listen. One of the biggest problems I have with most people I interact with is their complete lack of listening skills. I wrote a post earlier on how listening to understand is really important, but listening to reply is what most people practice. Many times in my previous interactions I would find myself in the middle of a sentence when someone else would cut me off to tell a story about themselves, not even noticing their blunder. Or I would be in the middle of a heart-to-heart and they would rush the story along, either by showing their disinterest outright or by immediately relating the conversation back to themselves. I got so fed up with this behavior that I just stopped telling them important things, and as a result I missed out on one of the most important parts of friendship. For me, this is one of the truest tests of character and ultimately decides how much time I will spend with a person.

They also give me balance. I can come out of my room in a horrible mood over something dumb that just happened and they’ll straighten me out and tell me when I’m overreacting, or tell me when I am justified to be mad. They can be silly and they can be serious.

I used to think most girls were airheaded and dramatic, but that was very narrow-minded of me to think. I had some annoying experiences in high school, and that led me to believe I didn’t even want girl friends. But now that I see what I was missing, I’m so glad I gave them a chance to show me how important it is to have this balance.

My experiences at a small school are what gave me this limited perspective on what girls are like as friends. That is why it’s so important for everyone to step out of their comfort zone for a while and experience “the real world”. I actually thought I was bad at making friends and interacting with people, but I just hadn’t found my people yet.

In my high school’s environment, everyone was typecast into their roles as athletes, theater nerds, teacher pets, etc. I always felt I had to be a part of one of these groups, and this shaped how I saw everyone else I knew. But even in college it is so much different. The world is not made up of just a few types. There are large categories, undoubtedly, but many people fall into mixed terminology like I do. That’s what I’ve been waiting all my life to find.