Friendship: an underappreciated necessity

Editor-in-Chief Natalie Dunlap ’20 discusses the importance of close friendships.


Aditi Borde

Natalie Dunlap ’20 talks about the importance of close friendships.

Natalie Dunlap, Online Editor-in-Chief

I started sophomore year without many friends. Most people in my close friend group had been split up because of new district lines or because of families moving away.

A few months into sophomore year I started coming out of my shell. Instead of just sticking with people I knew, I pushed myself to hang out with students I had just been acquaintances with. I met new people and they introduced me to their friends. I actually left my house and had a social life. Because of that I met some people that were in my life for only a short period of time, and others that, today, are closer than family. The ones I have stuck close to have made me realize friendships hold more value than they receive credit for.

It’s easy to stand on the outside of a friend group and not find any value in the petty gossip or over the top laughing. Usually friendship is viewed with a lighthearted lens of having people to joke around and spend time with. However, I’ve found that they play a deeper role in my emotional health.

Friends aren’t just people you pass an afternoon with, or the ones that accompany you on a trip to the mall. Having a close confidant to discuss the big problems with, whether that’s mental health, stress from an overloaded schedule, or problems you are having with other people in your life is important, because taking all of life’s problems on alone is too heavy of a burden.

I can’t count the number of times my friends and I have ranted over coffee, screamed our frustrations out in a car, cried on midnight Facetime calls or gone to each other’s houses just so we are in a different environment and we are not alone. And while our group chats are filled with catty gossip and stupid jokes, they are also full of support when one of us is struggling.

Friendship isn’t the constant physical presence of another person, it’s the consistent connection you have to someone and knowing that they are there for you.

— Natalie Dunlap '20

In British Literature, my teacher had us stand in the room based on how strongly we agree with various statements regarding the novel “Frankenstein”. One of the opinions stated that the absence of friendship was a great sadness. I found a spot on the left side of the room near the “strongly agree” sign. Some people further to the right argued that being around people all the time is exhausting and not enjoyable and that it’s important to be on your own sometimes. To that I wholeheartedly agree, valuing yourself as an individual is essential; but to me friendship isn’t the constant physical presence of another person, it’s the consistent connection you have to someone and knowing that they are there for you.

No matter how social you are, having a close companion is vital for emotional and mental health. When I am feeling overwhelmed, angry or need guidance, I know there are people I can go to.

Sometimes it’s hard to just be a functioning person in the world, but it’s much easier when you’re not alone.