Accepting that friends ebb and flow throughout high school


If you would have told me freshman year about all of the people I would be friends with right now, I would be shocked. Not necessarily because of who my friends are right now, but because of who they aren’t. It’s basically not the same people at all from freshman year. Sure, I still talk to some of them, but it’s not the same. 

Sophomore year, as I started making new friends and losing touch with some of my old ones, I struggled to emotionally handle it. I felt like a failure for not being able to “keep” the same friends, and stupidly, I worried that people would think something was wrong with me for not staying in the same friend groups. 

Certainly, though, this was not the case. As I considered other people in my grade, I realized that many others started to drift apart and make new friends. It’s completely natural, and I recommend embracing it. 

The key to meeting new friends in high school was, for me, activities and clubs. I found out that people from all grade levels shared my interests, and these shared interests is what created special bonds. Towards the end of junior year, and now, into senior year, my friend group has become somewhat smaller (whether that may be because of COVID, who knows), but the connections are definitely stronger then when I was a part of larger groups. 

Talking with my sisters who both graduated from Granville, senior year seems, universally, to be the time when friend groups dwindle, and you’re left with the several people who really care about you, feeling confident about your relationship and its continuance post graduation. 

Still, there are some people whose friendship flamed out, people who I was once inseparable with. Sometimes we’d talk again for a little bit, and maybe stay friends, but there are some people who cycle throughout your life, and that’s totally okay. It might feel awkward, but it doesn’t mean there was anything necessarily negative about the friendship — high school is a time of growth, and maybe you just grew apart. 

It happens because of growth, sure, but it’s possible that there was something wrong with the friendship. Maybe one person was putting in all the effort and it didn’t feel reciprocated. Maybe, whenever you were together, all you could talk about was other people. It’s definitely a good idea to try and talk about it with the person, or otherwise just start to distance yourself. Then, when you leave high school, and go out into the real world, you have more of an idea what sort of people you like to be around, and what people you know you won’t click with.

I recommend talking to your friend if you’re having trouble before trying distancing. Having these sorts of healthy conversations also boosts your “maturity level” (if that’s something you even keep track of). But seriously, actions speak volumes. Being able to properly communicate your feelings and thoughts to another person, even if it may be hard. Sometimes it’s awkward, but starting out the conversation is the worst part. 

It’s really simple. I’ll even give you a template. 

“Hey, it kind of makes me feel ____ when you _____.”

Starting without hostility and loading it with respect and kindness is the key to a productive conversation. They may respond well, and also bring up things that you have done that weren’t the best either. In that case, it’s important to own up to everything you did (it’s also good to remember that criticism is not the end of the world, but you should take it seriously) and consider how your actions made them feel.

If your conversation turns into an awkward and slightly hostile interaction, then it might be best to go your separate ways. It might be hard, but, ultimately, you’re not obligated to stay friends with someone all throughout high school. It’s tough, but it’s the reality. What happens from ages 14-18 regarding friendships isn’t going to haunt you forever.

But still, we’re all leaving in four years. I recommend meeting as many new people as you can. You’ll be very surprised who you end up clicking with if you really expand your vision to people outside of just your classes and grade-level.