Everyone has one person who they’ve been friends with for years despite their toxic behavior. Unhappy friendships often continue merely because they are comfortable.
After graduating high school, I wanted to stay close with my high school friends. I was hoping to FaceTime at least once a week, text them every day, and visit them at college, but as time progressed, I realized that for some relationships, this would not occur.
It’s difficult to recognize that people change and drift apart. Sometimes it may not be best to stay friends with your high school friends. There are friends who will last a lifetime, but there are also plenty of people who are only meant to stay in your life for a certain period of time, and that’s completely okay.
There is no perfect time to distance yourself from your high school friends, but here are some signs that it might be time to stop trying to work things out:
1. Their core values do not align with yours
While it’s possible to be friends with someone who holds different values as you, it is necessary to make sure they also respect your morals. If they constantly make comments that bother you, continuing the relationship might only make you hesitant to express your feelings. When considering ending a friendship, it is important to ask yourself if your friend respects your values, and if your values are so drastically different that you can’t be happy in a friendship with them.
2. If you are always the one reaching out
Friendships should be mutual. Although people are often busy in college, everyone should still have the time to send a short text or make a five minute phone call. If your friend is not putting in the effort you deserve, they are not worth your time. You should distance yourself from them and use the extra time to build stronger relationships with your high school friends who show that they care and to make new friends at college.
3. You feel as if you can’t be yourself
Friends should be people you feel comfortable expressing yourself with. If you have to put on a facade to be acceptable to your friends, then the friendship might be toxic. You shouldn’t feel as if you have to change who you are for your friends to think you are “cool”; you should be able to share those cringey dad jokes and vent about your life’s issues. If you feel hesitant to be yourself when you are with someone, then it might be time to end the friendship before they cause you to question who you are.
4. You can’t trust them
Every relationship is built on trust — including friendships. You should trust your friends to not talk poorly about you behind your back. If you frequently have the feeling that one of your friends is gossiping about you, it might be time to trust your gut. You should feel confident in your relationship and not have to question whether or not your friends are trustworthy or loyal. It is important to communicate with your friends about your feelings and determine if trust is able to be rebuilt before deciding to end the friendship.
5. Your friendship is negatively affecting other aspects of your life
If a friendship is harming your relationships with other people, negatively affecting your school work and extracurricular activities, or causing a decline in your mental health, the friendship is not worth having. The entire purpose of a friendship is to strengthen the happiness of two people. There are ups and downs to every friendship, but it should not cause you frequent stress. If you feel as if you aren’t benefiting from the relationship and as if other aspects of your life that you value are being impacted negatively, then consider if the friendship is worth salvaging.
Although these points are not something to automatically follow, they should cause you to reflect on how healthy your friendship is. Discuss your issues with your friends and if you still feel as if things aren’t getting better, it is likely in your best interest to stop being friends with the person.
You don’t need to stay friends with someone just because you’ve been friends with them forever. As college students entering adulthood, it is important that we choose to be friends with people who will make us happy and allow us to achieve our goals. We are at the age where the decisions we make will impact our future.
It’s time to be intentional about who you are spending your time with.