two men and trees in sunlight

“I thought college was where I would find my people, which I assumed meant people who dressed like me, and listened to the same music as me, and wanted to see the same movies as me. Variations on the theme of me. But I realized, maybe too late, that all I wanted was friends to listen to music with.”
—Hua Hsu, Stay True

This passage rings true to me. I, too, had idealistic expectations of friendship when I entered college. I wanted to hang out with people who had the exact same artistic tastes as me at the exact same time. I didn’t realize that friendship is messier, and larger, than that. I didn’t realize that having such high expectations dramatically narrows your chances of making friends.

Hua Hsu is a writer for The New Yorker, and his memoir Stay True is about college friendship—what it means, and what happens when it’s gone.

Warning: do not read this book unless you’re up for feeling some strong emotions. It’s a book that might make you tearful. Or at least incredibly mopey.

It also might make you reflect on your own friendships, past and present.

Which is preferable: to have friends to do activities with (such as listen to music), or to have friends who are just like you?