I shared a third grade class with two mutual friends that I brushed off with brief interactions here and there throughout the year. We all had our own group of friends, so we never imagined becoming the closest of friends two years later after talking more in 5th grade.
At a very young age, my family restricted me from getting too close to other people due to trust issues, which later influenced me to become reserved and selfish. I would always find comfort being in a shy bubble and was often too scared to take risks because of the possible long-term regrets. I would put myself before others and pushed those who were trying to help me away.
On the other hand, my two friends were the complete opposite of me. They were always comfortable taking risks and opening up to people. I remember asking them why they continued being my friends and convincing them that they shouldn’t be. Despite being seemingly intolerable to them, they genuinely wanted my friendship and were always there for me. Together, they made me more confident because wherever I was, I knew that I had two reliable, caring people in my life.
Ever since elementary school, I believe there was always an authentic person inside of me that I could never find myself publicly embracing because I was scared of judgement. Yet, my two closest friends were there through thick and thin, allowing me to gradually transform into the genuine person that took chances, something I could never imagine myself being years before.
Our friendship is never one-sided as we all comfort each other in every way we can. Growing up, being their friend pushed me to become mature and considerate through giving them the same encouragement they never hesitated to give me. They offered me this opportunity to change myself, to be patient, as I sat down to listen to them and reflect upon myself to give them the best advice I could.
I found myself more comfortable with embodying the real, positive me who no longer cared about what people expected of or wanted for me, and focused on being more open to things I found more important. I learned to be courageous under scary situations and to surround myself with people who support and love me, while I gave them the same affection.