College is a great time to meet tons of new people from all over the country and make some really amazing friends. Everyone brings something different to college and these varying friendships are an enriching and integral part of the college process; Boston College is no different.
In fact, the topic of friendship is widely discussed on campus (if you haven’t already figured that out). Professors and administrators love using Aristotle’s models of friendship as a starting point so I’ll do the same. Aristotle claims that there are essentially three types of friendships: those of utility, pleasure and the good. Each type has its merits but the best is undeniably a friendship of virtue or of the good.
He goes on to describe each type in detail but they are pretty self-explanatory. While this model may seem somewhat limiting, I think it is the simplest way of talking about friendship and is helpful. I’ll draw from Aristotle when describing the different types of college friendships but I’ll also use some personal examples and try to give some tips on how to manage all the friendships that will invariably spring up.
Hometown/High School Friends
These are friends that you had to leave when coming to school. They can be siblings, childhood friends, people you went to school with or even significant others. While they might not go to school with you, I still think these friends play an important part in the college experience.
In many ways these people shaped who you are now and despite the distance they maintain their importance in your life. You might have to change the dynamic of these friendships; they are no longer as accessible. Regardless, these are the friends that you will be texting or calling when you have a fun story or need some advice and these are the people who you’ll spend a weekend visiting or vice versa. It’ll take time to adjust to being away from these close friends or learning how to balance a long-distance relationship but they are still a part of your college experience. Some of my best memories are from visiting my friend at Fordham or my girlfriend at Georgetown or having my friend from Marist visit. High School friends are important to your time at school.
Dorm Building/ Hall Friends
These guys or girls are really friends of convenience at first. Everyone can travel as a group to get meals or go into Boston together. You all become friends because they are simply there, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Eventually you’ll start spending time in each other’s rooms watching movies, playing video games or just hanging out. The pack mentality quickly fades and real friendship bonds start to grow instead.
Friends of convenience soon become actual friends. They don’t have to be your best friends but it’s important to begin your year with a good support system of people who live around you. I still have a group chat going with the guys from my floor; we had almost all of our meals together all year and I spent a lot of time just hanging out with the guys from my hall. These types of friendships may not begin as much but will really affect how your school your progresses.
These friends started by just having a few classes with you or maybe you realized that you’re both in the same major. So, again, this type of friendship has a little bit of the convenience factor; you can study together, help each other with the homework, complain about how much the class sucks. Some of these friendships might not make it past this stage but you’ll probably meet some people you actually like talking to—and not about the econ homework or the literature reading.
These are friends who happen to have similar interests whether academic or not. Maybe they even live in the same building or have friends from your floor. I became really good friends with a girl from my Latin class who lived three floors above me in the same dorm. These friendships start out as a matter of circumstance but over time they can develop into something more meaningful.
These are the friends who you know actually have similar interests and you met through a club or sports team or service placement. These friends start out at a deeper level than most. Your passions are your starting points, your common thread. I’ve made some great friends at the Gavel and through other activities; going to parties, attending club meetings or simply hanging out, a lot of time is spent with these friends. Remember that these aren’t your only friends. Just like you, they have other interests and are probably part of other clubs too. These friends are crucial but should not be limiting at all.
There can be many more types of friends but these are some pretty simple models and hopefully it makes sense why I mentioned Aristotle. These are obvious examples and it is one thing to notice these groups of friends but it takes more to act on them. These types of friendships aren’t rigid and shouldn’t be exclusive. The beautiful thing about college is that interactions are usually pretty organic. You can find that your friend in Calculus has a class with someone on your floor or that your friend from 4Boston is in another club with your roommate. Finding friends is important but bring those friends together is another great step. If you spread yourself too thin among different friend groups you’ll burn out.
Friendships shouldn’t be a burden so bring together different friends could make this process much easier. With that said retaining friends, especially those from back home, requires some work. Frequent texts or the occasional visit isn’t too hard and can be rewarding. At the same time, you should enjoy your time at school with the other amazing friends you’ve made. There’s a great balance required and it’ll come with time. Friendships, particularly lasting ones, take patience but even after only a year I am reaping the rewards of surrounding myself with some great people and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.