What is a best friend? Most would say it is the one person you can talk to about anything. Others would say a best friend is someone who sticks with you through the good and the bad. Is it possible to have more than one best friend? Maybe, but can you have too many friends? Is it okay to have no friends?

The college portion of life can be nerve-wrecking for someone who lacks positive social interactions. When a new freshman arrives on campus the first things they hear are “Get involved!” and “Meet new people.” Although I believe some students take this friend idea too far. Yes, college is the perfect place to spread your wings and discover your true self, but that doesn’t include turning into a completely different person. I have seen many people change just to obtain friends. It’s easy to say you won’t change than to actually stand your ground in the heat of the moment.

It is a misconception that you have to be “known” around campus to have friends. It’s also a misconception that one can be “popular” in college. Popularity is an adolescent idea that needs to be eradicated upon entering the college years for the sake of positive individual development. You shouldn’t worry about being popular because in all honesty it doesn’t matter. Showing up at all the school parties is not going to make a different in whether you make the dean’s list. Hooking up with numerous people will not give you a “one-up” when it comes to job applications. It is good to be outgoing and social but is it really worth sacrificing your self-respect?

Most of the so-called popular people on campus describe themselves as approachable and as everybody’s friend. Newsflash-you can’t be everybody’s friend! Do they really even know all of these people’s personally? Talking and laughing about conversational topics such as clothes, football, and hair do not take you deeper into the depths of another person’s soul. Having lunch with them once or twice also doesn’t count as friendship. The anonymous hot guy or girl on MySpace.com doesn’t even count as friendship. If people would stop talking about themselves for once and start genuinely caring about the feelings of others maybe we’d get to know the real side of people.

I will say that having no friends is better than having a bunch of fair-weather friends. Yes, we are human beings and need that social interaction, but why waste yourself on others who don’t even appreciate you. If you have no friends at the moment, you have nowhere to go but up. It can be rather difficult to find others who compliment you well in a challenging environment like college. It’s bigger and you sometimes get the feeling that you are insignificant, but you’re not. No one is. It may take you a while to get satisfied with your social life but it will all be worth it in the end.

Having no friends is better than hanging out with people who try to change everything about you. If they were you’re real friends they would embrace the good side of you as well as the flaws. You don’t have to be on the scene to get friends. Meet people in class or at a study group. Sit down next to the super quiet girl in the library and start a conversation. Join an intramural sports team or academic club. Sororities and fraternities are also a great source for networking and developing life long bonds.

I know what it feels like to not fit in. I am also no stranger to the feeling of awkwardness. But because I was myself I have got some of the best friends anyone could ask for. I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in the world. It was rough at first, but I slowly found my groove. Some people even found my awkwardness and strange sense of humor endearing. The same thing can happen to you. Friendship cannot be forced, so lighten up and let everything unfold. The people you do connect with will be honest and true and possibly the best things that ever happened to you.