A friend in need: when to dump the chumps, when to keep ’em

Dear Danni,

With the holiday passing, I decided to make a New Year’s resolution that’s already been bustin’ my chops. I decided to quit partying and finally get serious about school. The hard part is all my friends are potheads, and though I have a blast with them, I feel like I need to drop them. Danni, I love my boys, but I really need to get my s*** together. Do I just bone out on them? Or, do I just try to keep my partying in check?

Dear “Maintain’n,”

OK, here’s where we separate the men from the boys.

Look, throughout your life, you will always be surrounded by people with different priorities, different morals, different goals.

Sometimes these people are just co-workers or classmates, but sometimes these people are your best friends. Now, if you remember, there was a time after high school graduation when you knew that some of your buddies and you would be going separate ways-nothing personal, just another cold, harsh reality of the adult world.

Growing up means growing some balls. As in, you have to know how-and when-to stand your ground. But, does this mean the end of “Frank the Tank?” Has “Thirsty Thursday” really been replaced by “Macroeconomic Monday?”

Dear God, I hope not.

We still have five months to go in the semester, folks. My advice here is simple, but let’s peel the layers of this onion, anyway.

It sounds like you’re a little scared to define who you are as a person now and who you want to be in the future. As we age, there is a natural need to compartmentalize, to group, to assign roles to individuals and things that make them easily recognizable. We are partiers, or we are straight-laced. We are jocks, or we are hippies.

However, there are a great deal of decisions, behaviors and associations that make us the people we are.

Or, in other words, you are not necessarily your friends and they are not necessarily you. Getting your life together is not an act that comes simply through the picking up or dropping of friends.

Rather, it is a process that occurs over time. It is not something that you can ascertain through reading The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People or taking Cosmo’s latest personal test.

In fact, if college has taught us nothing else, it’s that we all must be able to integrate ourselves in a diverse and morally tricky society. We must be able to stand alone at times, admitting the turmoil and the peer pressure of what is “in” and what is “out.”

I’ll be honest, I will miss the guys that made every party hysterical-who doesn’t love those dudes?

Having said that, what I’m actually hearing from you is that you are starting to question who you are, what that means to your friends and what type of person you really want to become in the future.

Scary stuff, huh?

Even scarier is the fact that only you can make the call as to what you are now and what you want to become-nobody can do it for you and you shouldn’t expect them to. Your friends are undoubtedly important to you, and I’m sure they’re great guys, but this is something that you’ve got to get done on your own time. If it turns out that your friends are getting in the way of your progression as a human being, the you might have to let them go. If you’re just transposing here-making them into the representation of what’s wrong in your life-then think twice about bailing on your buddies.

Friends are not, nor should they ever be, collateral concerns. You need to take a closer look at your life and figure out what is really holding you up-chances are, your friends are just emblematic of the greater problem. Don’t simply ditch them in some symbolic gesture of abandon-that would be monumentally stupid. Remember, after all, these are the kids who held you up for all those keg-stands. That’s got to count for something.

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