Tonight, I stood camped outside of the fenced off Grant Park, trying to grasp floating earfuls of Vic Mensa’s Lollapalooza set. While I was standing there, I noticed a couple, in their early twenties presumably, also wandering along the fence, and I asked them if they were trying to hear Vic. I waved them over to my spot, only slightly louder than the rest of the spots along the fence, and we all three leaned in, hoping to catch a sonic glimpse of one of our favorite artists. We chatted for a little while longer, complaining about the atrocious resale prices, waving off hungry resellers, telling stories of concerts past, and just being friendly until we gave up our futile attempts to hear anything. As we were leaving, the man asked my name. “Noah,” I responded. “Yours?”
“Ethan,” he said back to me, with a jovial smile, as we shook hands.
“And you?” I asked his girlfriend.
“Erica,” she responded as I shook her hand, before we took off on our respective paths into the Chicago night sky.
A short while ago, my favorite artist Kanye West tweeted a link to his favorite song of 2016. It’s “Friends” by Francis and the Lights, (check it out here, I love it!) and fellow avid hip-hop fans may recognize the beat from Chance the Rapper’s “Summer Friends”. One of the standout lines from that song is “I would turn around for you,” and removed from context, it doesn’t seem very powerful. However, to me, it speaks volumes. Turning around for someone implies not only stopping one’s own progress for another, but reversing that progress just to be with the other person. It’s also the opposite of turning your back on someone, which lends its way to making friends instead of enemies. It speaks to me so much, in my opinion, because I have friends that I would turn around for. Maybe the sentiments of that don’t echo as much for you as they do for me, but if you have friends that you’d turn around for, you’ll understand the emotion behind it.
I’m certain that not only have I turned around for my friends, but that they’ve turned around for me. Leaving for a residential high school made my friends do some turning around back at home, and moving in early to an out of state college that no one else from my high school is attending has made my friends from the Academy do some turning around for me. Luckily, I’ve been blessed by some of the greatest friends in the world. For example, my friends from home and I still are in a group text, and we still make jokes all the same. Every time I’m back in town, they always invite me to hang out, and we get to spend great time together. Also, This Wednesday, my friends from the Academy made a trip that started in Richmond, and moved to Lafayette, Logansport, and La Porte, just to come up and spend some time with me. I felt so loved, and it was indescribably amazing. They’re the people that make life the special treasure that we get to enjoy every day.
I may never turn around for Ethan and Erica. Hell, for what it’s worth, I may never see them again in this huge metropolis, but that’s not the point. Every friendship that has those special, truly spectacular people in it, friends worth turning around for, starts like how I met Ethan and Erica. It starts with a conversation. Go out, meet people, hang out with them, say hello. Doing these things will help you make friends with the people who you’ll stay in touch with, no matter the issue, distance, time, whatever. Hopefully you’ll be just as lucky as I was, and you’ll find friends that are worth staying in touch with. Friends that make your life better.
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