Getting To Know My Best Friend Again

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Ninja Portrait, Take 2

A best friend can a be pillar…or a crutch.

My best friend John and I met in preschool. His parents dressed him in sweater vests. I picked my nose. We didn’t care if we messed up a joke or acted clumsy. Our insecurities made us closer.

A year ago, John left for college. When he came back this summer, things were different. It wasn’t just that he stopped biting his fingernails, or paid attention to his clothing. He seemed to have things all figured out. Our nervousness used to be an inside joke. Now he avoided self-consciousness like the plague.

As he talked about college — homesickness, dorm life, and strange classmates — I missed my old insecure friend. I wondered, who is this person, and is this what happens when you go off to school?

It took a while, but I got to know the new John. And it’s all good. He’s still the same guy, just older, a little more confident, and without the hesitation that I still have. As I head off to school this year, maybe we’ll be able to continue to grow together as friends.

But I have some catching-up to do.

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