On television, we often see friends sitting around in caf&

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169;s drinking coffee and making jokes about their misfortunes. Or we even see them gather together for brunch to discuss their latest relationship woes while making witty puns. But unfortunately in the real world, most of us do not have friendships like those in "Friends" or "Sex and the City." Friendships out here in the real world come without scripts and witty dialog, and rarely do they come across problems that can be solved in a thirty minute time period.




Most discover this the hard way, since so many of us depend on good friends more than anything. And why shouldn't they? Friends are there through it all; the break-ups, the make-ups, the family drama, the problems at work or school. They have your back; and that is more important that anything. There is nothing more comforting than knowing that at any time of the day or night, you have someone to reach out to for a helping hand. But from this one question arises the thought: needing our friends to help us find our way out of dark times, do we also destroy our ability to make it out ourselves?




Therein lays the problem with relying on your friends for support through the bad times. Sometimes I can forget that I need to be able to rely on myself just as much. At the end of the day, I need to be able to be by myself &

and that needs to feel just as good as having the support of a dear friend.




This "friendship crutch" does not just transfer to supporting ourselves through bad times. I sometimes remind myself that many big choices in life, such as moving away or choosing a college destination, are choices for me and no one else to make. As much as a friend's advice can help me, when going through a time of great change in my life, I need to realize that the decisions I make aren't always going to be about someone else. When it comes to my future, I need to make the best decision for me. This choice isn't selfish; it is just what every person should have the right to do.




This whole train of thought hits me as I currently struggle with my own big choices. As I juggle options for my future, I add the appropriate friends into the equation for each choice that I have. Then, if I consider another choice, I find myself feeling guilty just by thinking about not choosing the first one and its correlating friends. In doing this, I am being completely unfair to myself. In choosing a path for my future, I should make a decision based on my dreams, aspirations, and possibilities. I love my friends, but they cannot be the reason I make a life-changing decision for myself. I should not need to make a decision to do something that could affect the rest of my life unless it is what I know I truly want.




And neither should anyone else.




is a member of the Ashalnd High School Class of 2007