Initiative vs Proximity Friends

Yesterday, I graduated from high school. Showered with congratulations from friends, family, and even people I barely knew, it felt like celebrating a birthday. You’re aware that something important is happening but you don’t feel accomplished or different in the moment. I feel as I normally do when the school year ends, underwhelmed, ready to move on, but with an uneasy feeling that I’ve left something behind. I’m writing this piece now because I feel like I have the right words to express that sense of forgetfulness.

I don’t know if this is a universal experience, but because of the increase in socialization that happens at the end of school years, I feel like I always meet new people that I would have otherwise not spoken to. There’s a strange transient relationship that begins right before summer vacation: people in know their time together is fleeting, and realize that they wish that they had spent more time with given person or group of people.

Look, I’ll never see you again, so I might as well say everything I was afraid of saying to you earlier when I knew I’d see you again soon”.

These kinds of conditional relationships are good in the moment, but for me are a reminder of the time I didn’t take the time or effort to meet with and reach out to new people. There’s something about the end of the school year and knowing that you may or may never talk to this person ever again that makes you feel like you have nothing to lose if the interaction doesn’t go the way you want, that makes it much easier to develop relationships with people on a whim.

This might-as-well-do-it” attitude when it comes to relationships is a mindset I hope to adopt going into college. In hindsight I wish I had made more initiative” friends (people who I sought out because I thought they were interesting or attractive) rather than proximity” friends (people who I developed relationships because of their social or physical proximity to me). I’m not saying that one is inherently better than the other, but still taking notice of the fact that the number of proximity” relationships far exceeds initiative” relationships.

High school is weird, and while I’m glad it’s over I feel like I’d want to try it all over again with what I know now.

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June 12, 2021