“I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone, a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New Yorker prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all, everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.” J.D. Salinger
Nosy neighbours are skilled at dispersing gossip. But drifting away from the reputation of gossipy housewives in their mid-forties, neighbors drop your kids, bring you food, help you when you are locked out or when you run out of sugar.
In New York, you don’t speak to your neighbors, it’s an unspoken ground rule that everyone seems to abide by. You don’t greet them. You don’t know them. It isn’t uncommon to live in your dorm room without speaking to your suite mates for days.
Elevators give you stress and phones without signals are awkward getaways. More than anywhere in the world, New York is where you most need a friend.
My classmate, Aerin Reed comes from a small town known as Eastern Connecticut where the only revolutionary thing that has happened in the last few years is the renovation of the Eastern Village Store. Moms and gossips and hitting deer accidentally are as much a part of her childhood vicinity as are bagels, frowns and subway horrors in New York.
“My town has a thousand people more than NYU’s graduating class,” Reed said while describing her transition from a traditional small town to the city that is overly crowded even on Sundays.
Unlike her friends and classmates, Reed never dreamed of studying in a traditional campus setting, which made NYU one of her first choices. “I remember walking down the road after welcome week and thinking I do not know anyone on the street,” quite unlike the million recognizable faces she would encounter while driving a car in the part of the world which she calls “home.”
At this exact moment what she would have missed is a friend. At this exact moment she needed the kind of love Greeks call “philia.”
Philia was first used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who defined it as brotherly love or love shared by friends. The English language does not have a separate word for what Aristotle believed to be unconditional and pure i.e. “with good reason,” so we shall do what we always do: follow the path lead by Greeks.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently wrote a column titled, “The Real Campus Scourge,” which discusses the overwhelming theme of loneliness in a campus setting. “In a survey of nearly 28,000 students on 51 campuses by the American College Health Association last year, more than 60 percent said that they had “felt very lonely” in the previous 12 months. Nearly 30 percent said that they had felt that way in the previous two weeks,” he wrote. All these folks deprived of Philia.
In New York, everything is always on the extreme as is this feeling of loneliness. No amount of Rainbow themed Starbucks or insta worthy cookie doughs can fill the void that only friendship can fill. But my dearest, you are not alone in this. New York has that power over you but you have something that the city lacks: the option to halt, start over and rebuild.
Text your freshman year roommate.
Don’t let Netflix govern your life.
Talk to the person sitting right next to you, chances are she feels the same way.
Log off Instagram.
Remember, loneliness is a feeling that is temporary; It is not a lifestyle.
Don’t just make acquaintances. Get to know them. Turn them into your friends.
Most of all, remember to let go of whatever is holding you back: fear, shyness, insecurity, rationale, over possessive boyfriend and then you will learn to live. You need a friend and so does the person next to you. All you need is that one wide smile.
Link to original article- http://campusclipper.com/blog/philia/