Be a dumpster for your friends

Three+students+rest+on+the+Main+Quad+on+Tuesday.++Opinions+editor+Lucas+describes+the+importance+of+listening+to+and+accepting+your+friends.
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Be a dumpster for your friends

Three students rest on the Main Quad on Tuesday.  Opinions editor Lucas describes the importance of listening to and accepting your friends.

Three students rest on the Main Quad on Tuesday. Opinions editor Lucas describes the importance of listening to and accepting your friends.

Mark Capapas

Three students rest on the Main Quad on Tuesday. Opinions editor Lucas describes the importance of listening to and accepting your friends.

Mark Capapas

Mark Capapas

Three students rest on the Main Quad on Tuesday. Opinions editor Lucas describes the importance of listening to and accepting your friends.

By Lucas Oswald, Opinions Editor

Good friends are hard to find — old words, yet true words. 

In today’s era of digital companionship, social media platforms like Facebook promote the notion one can be a friend from anywhere. People worlds away can connect with the simple biometric unlocking of a smartphone. 

Access to such instantaneous communication is altering the definition of friendship. Now, “friends” are the cordiform icons appearing beneath your posts, the pings of direct messages and the semi-creative usernames commenting on your pages. Our relationships barely extend past our friends’ cellphones; we designed all this technology, so we could be closer from farther away.  

But is that what a “good friend” is? Just another profile picture on your running list of followers?

I hate to be the guy who answers his own rhetorical questions, but no. That is not what a good friend is, and I know because I am fortunate enough to have a few. 

Good friends are not exclusively available through technology nor are they so self-absorbed they forget to ask about you.

No. Good friends are dumpsters. (Yes, you read that correctly.) They are the dumpsters into which you can dump your problems and your feelings and your secrets. They also never fill up and rarely smell, which already gives them two legs up over literal waste receptacles. 

They are dependable, always ready for you to toss more of your garbage into them. They are reliable, easy to locate again once found and clearly marked. They’ve seen you at your worst and still stand in unjudging silence as you burden them with your filth.

They understand life is messy; they get the chaos and the clutter, and they know you.

But yeah, dumpsters are hard to find. They elude us largely because we forget our friends are also people with their own trash to deal with. Too many of us aren’t the dumpsters our friends need. On the unusual occasions we surface from our screens, it’s only for superficial gossip about celebrity romances or to guffaw over the next Vine compilation. Seldom do we unplug to listen to our friends, to be with them in the moment, to let them dump whatever they need to dump.   

So become the dumpster your friends need. Lift your eyes from your smartphone, and listen to what they tell you. Welcome their garbage with open arms, let them unload on you and allow them the freedom to throw anything at you, no matter how revolting and ugly. Take it all in silence, absorb it, offer advice if necessary and then pack it away safely in the landfill of time. 

Be that person who friends tell, “Gosh, buddy, you were hard to find.”

Lucas is a senior in LAS.

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