I’m an unfashionable, anti-social nerd. At least, that’s what I believed about myself for a bit.
The start of high school deemed survivable, but I still hadn’t found my place yet. The end of grade nine, middle school, had me annoyed with my immature friends and wondering why I was friends with some of them anyways. Grade ten left me unsure about staying friends with them or finding new friends amidst the tight friend groups.
I guess I had expected that high school would be immensely different in terms of friends. My friends would either change and stop referencing to inappropriate things, or I would find a true friend who actually had the same values I had–including my faith in God.
In one sense, I was right. My friends did change. Instead of being immature, some of them turned into mature high-school students. It was like they had aged five years–they became stereotypical teen girls, always wearing “fashionable” clothes (clothes I labeled strange and ugly) and constantly on their phones. Honestly, I hated it. They were becoming girls that I would have previously labeled “popular”, people that didn’t care for deep, thought-provoking subjects and instead focused on clothes and boys.
So I turned to the school library before school and during lunch. Yes, the beautiful book-filled library that I had previously ignored due to the lack of popularity. After all, who likes reading? Who likes libraries? Well, I’ll answer that: nerds. All those shy, quiet, smart people who prefer to sit in a corner and read than do anything that involves being social.
What was really nice about the library was that it restored my love for books and exploring new worlds. What wasn’t so nice was that it made me ignore everyone and become an anti-social nerd. Now, there’s nothing wrong with libraries. I love them. But it made me forget my friends, especially the ones that actually cared about me.
You see, I had forgotten that not everyone in my friend group had turned into annoyed, stereotypical teen girls. One day I was eating lunch with a friend and I mentioned about how I had decided to be anti-social and most days I was spending lunch in the library. As I expected, she was slightly mortified that I would be doing anything of the sort–books are not a common interest among teens. She made me promise that I would not spend lunch-time in the library the next day. So I promised.
I didn’t really want to obey her, but I had promised her, so the next day I didn’t go into the library. Instead, I ate lunch and walked around with my friends. Same with the next day. And the next. You know what I found out? Libraries can’t compare to friends.
I had spent a lot of time complaining to people about my stupid, exclusive friends. But that was a small minority. The people I started to hang out with–the ones that hadn’t turned annoying–actually made me feel good. We talked and discussed things–mostly classes and TV shows, with was a little sad because the conversation never went deeper–and I started to enjoy high school a little more. I have yet to get out of my comfort zone and actually talk about my faith with other people, even my Christian friends, but I have three years. God’s still working in me.
I had expected that high school would bring me to God-loving, people-loving, deep-thinker friends. It didn’t really. Instead, I found that quite a few of my previous friends were fun, considerate people. Not perfect, obviously. In fact, I’m probably a worse friend than they are; I spent a while ignoring them and thinking they were jerks. But that’s alright.
Now that I think of it, I guess my friends didn’t change. My mindset did. No longer am I searching for the “perfect friend.” Instead, I searched inside myself and found that when I became social and friendly, others did too.