I’m trying to understand people. After a childhood alone, I find it hard not to take things personally, but my generation is weird. We don’t take anyone seriously. We do what we want. We are selfish. We resent those that call us out on it.

You can’t blame people my age for acting this way because everyone else does and surely no one can stop it alone.

I’ve tried not to care. I’ve tried to just focus on people that I consider my best friends. Yet, no matter what I do, people let me down. And maybe that’s my fault. I think I give my friends what I seek in them, but maybe not? After all I am biased.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t assuage the pain I feel when my friends blow me off, when I am ignored, when people completely forget my 21st birthday. But that’s life I guess. What I have learned and tried to internalize is that I need only care what my few intimates think of me the rest are, as the French say, “les connards.”

And I don’t care about connards.

I’m trying to live this philosophy, as the last few weeks have resolutely convinced me of the failings of my peers as friends. I just cannot keep thinking about things that no one else cares about. I cannot be wounded by the indifference of others for it is not malice, merely their own problems with affection and relationships.

Living in France and traveling this summer have opened my eyes in so many ways. When I consider the incredible love of my French host family, who were complete strangers that I was foisted upon, and the indifference of my supposed friends from Duke here I realize that good friends are something you can never let go, for they are so rare.

There’s a reason why the French use “pote” (acquaintance) most of the time, not ami, it is because few deserve the monicker of friend. In reality most of our “friends” are acquaintances that only speak to us over cocktails or when circumstances bring us together. Think about how many friends you can truly rely on. And that’s what you believe, not the true number.

Of course some will surprise you, but I’ve learned such an invaluable lesson here. It is not to be callous. It is not to spurn friendship or affection; rather, it is to keep your true friends close, to never let go of those you care for. They are not replaceable. Treasure them always.

I love you MC, Akshita, Liz, Danny, Samm, Melissa and everyone else that truly cares for me. Life is only worth living if you have wonderful people to share it with.

Here’s to them.

(Fittingly, when I wrote this in the car on the way back from a party in Bordeaux, the song that came on when I wrote here’s to them was “I can see clearly now the rain is gone” by Johnny Nash)