The Three Different Types of Friends
I think I can speak for many military kids when I say I don’t like making friends. Being a military kid, the idea of moving again often deterred me from making many friends.
If you’re my friend reading this, you’re probably like, “Toddi, you’re lying. You make so many friends!” And yeah, you’re right, but it’s not the kind of friends I want.
For me, there are three types of friends for a military kid: the school friend, the lunch friend, and the actual friend.
1. The School Friend
This is the most common type of friend you can make (at least for me). This is the one you talk to at school, and sometimes talk to outside of school (but like rarely- you barely make an effort, ‘cause it’s weird). Despite being really close at school, if I saw one of my school friends outside of school, I would probably walk the other way.
It’s not mean, but seeing your school friends outside of school is like seeing your teachers outside of the classroom.
You talk about school to your ‘school friend’ (hence the title) and nothing else. Conversations about your favorite teacher or class, your GPA -- you have pointless conversations to make your school day a little less boring. (One time I had a whole conversation with my school friend about the times of days…. Yes, times of days). You never talk to your school friends about your emotions, or what’s going on at home, because it’s just not necessary.
With school friends, everything is easy and simple. Being a military kid, especially in the beginning, I used to only make school friends.
But the awkwardness of a school friend prompted my parents to ask me, “Toddi, do you even have any friends?” which, for me, was an extremely hard question to answer. Like how do you tell your parents you have part-time friends, because you’re afraid that if you made actual friends it would be a waste of time and extremely hard to maintain the relationship because you’re probably moving in a couple of weeks and there’s really no point?
There’s nothing wrong with being the school friend-- I say this because I’m usually the school friend. I’m the one you rant to when you need help with your history homework, or the person you sit with in class and make jokes to, so you don’t feel entirely lonely. I’m not the one you think about when you want to go trick or treating on Halloween or the one you want to rant to.
Neither is the lunch friend.
2. The Lunch Friend
Now you’re probably wondering, “Isn’t a lunch friend just a school friend but you sit with them at lunch?”
You’re right, but also extremely wrong.
A lunch friend is the person you sit with at lunch (sometimes, you don't necessarily have to sit with them to be lunch friends), yes, but they are NOT a school friend. Compared to school friends, lunch friends are much closer to you.
You probably talk about your favorite TV shows, or your favorite movies, and you most definitely hang out on the weekends. But if I were to ask you, “What’s their last name?” or “Do they have a dog?” you probably wouldn’t be able to answer these questions.
Lunch friends, in my opinion, are my absolute favorite type of friends. It’s not complicated, and you actually form a pretty great bond. When you’re preparing for a move, you invite them to your going away party but you probably won’t miss them that much. They’re good company and really good friends, but let’s be honest, you can find another lunch friend anywhere. As a military kid, I would say lunch friends are an absolute necessity.
If you’re my friend reading this, and I’ve never talked to you about things that aren’t TV shows or movies… you’re my lunch friend.
Even if you end up not talking to your lunch friend anymore, they’ll always be at the same lunch table.
3. The Actual Friend
I would say I have like three actual friends, so I can’t even really explain it, but actual friends are the closest friends you can have. They’re what you call your ‘best friends’ (or better yet your BFFL as I would say in 2012).
Actual friends are the people you would die for (hypothetically of course, not literally). The people you cry in the bathroom stall with or the people who get ice cream with you after school. The ones who stay on a call with you until you’re okay-- the ones who you can always count on. They’re the people who you hug for a really long time at your going away party because you know you’ll probably never be able to replace them.
Actual friends, even though this is kind of dark, are the people who keep you alive. They’re what I call home.
When people ask me, “Where are you from?” my mind immediately goes to them. Because my actual friends are my home and my comfort.
It’s extremely hard to find these types of friends (if you’re me; it’s probably simple for most people), but when you do, you should keep them.
This whole article, in retrospect, was kind of pointless. I could have just told you school friends are acquaintances, lunch friends are friends, and actual friends are best friends, but I like to talk a lot (kind of proves why I’m the school friend).
I think as a military kid, making friends is hard, but it’s not impossible. You don’t have to make a whole lot of actual friends to be happy, you just need a lot of school friends. Growing up as a kid whose only constant in their life is change, it never hurts to make some friends, even if they’re only short term. That’s what I used to tell myself, at least.
Anyways, I hope all of my friends who read this realize that they’re probably one of my actual friends and not a school friend… unless you realized that you’re a school friend, which, in that case, is really awkward. See you in class!