“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12”, is one of the final sentences of the 1986 movie Stand by Me. Since moving to Maastricht more than 2 years ago, I often thought about this quote. We all know how fast life in Maastricht can be. You meet new people every period and barely see them again after the period ends. Your timetable changes every few weeks which can make it difficult to meet your friends on a regular basis. At the same time, you try to keep up with your friends from back home who sometimes seem to be light years away.
The situation becomes even more difficult by the fact that the older people are, the stronger their characters often have developed. It is not like when you were 12 and in the middle of growing up. In university, a lot of people already have very distinguishable traits which can be more or less likeable. Hence, it can be more difficult to find someone with whom you perfectly click.
All these factors – and probably a lot more – have taught me a different kind of friendship. Back in school, friends were set, you saw them almost daily and you were close in an incomparable way as you grew up and developed your character together. Hence, you had this strong influence on each other´s personality. You felt like you were friends for life.
However, I learned that friendships do not have to be all-or-nothing like that. Maybe now you struggle with meeting up regularly or miss out on daily things that happen in your lives, but this difference in friendships is not necessarily bad but simply that – a different kind of friendship. A kind that scared me when I first started university as it seemed so alien, but a kind I learned to accept and appreciate. An acceptance that came with realising that not all friendships have to be for a lifetime. And an appreciation that came with realising that this different kind of friendship can still be very intimate and honest.
Dharaha Thanapalasingham, UCM-student