Why Drifting Apart from High School Friends is OK

Your first semester home from college is always a little awkward. Who do you hang out with? Do you still have anything in common with your “friend group” from high school? Do you really want to spend your few precious weeks home hanging out with people you no longer connect with?

 

All these questions swirled inside my head as I boarded my flight back home to Phoenix in December. Leaving in the fall I had planned to stay in touch with every single one of my friends. I had heard people say, ‘you don’t stay friends with people from high school,’ and I was determined to prove them wrong. As I flew home, I remembered my goal and realized my optimism was a little unrealistic. I had tried to text everyone and talk, but it was just really hard.

 

 

In my next few weeks at home, I did my best to see as many people as I could. I organized a group ice skating night, went out to lunch, and invited people over to my house. It was nice to see everyone again but things had definitely changed. We had all grown in our months apart, and some of that growth occurred in opposite directions. When I first noticed this I was a little upset, but then I realized that just because I am not close with some of these people anymore doesn’t mean that our friendship wasn’t special and important.

 

 

All of the friends I have made, regardless of whether we have stayed in touch, have shaped me and contributed to the person I am today. I am grateful for the memories they gave me, and time nor distance can change what we once had. The after-school Starbucks runs and the endless pool games of Extreme Marco Polo still bring a smile to my face when I think of them and we will have the little moments like those forever.

 

 

Packing up to head back to college, my head was spinning even faster than before. I couldn’t wait to get back to rehearsals, weekly dinner catch ups and the unexpected late-night talks, but part of me was also clinging on tighter than ever to the friendships from home. I shared my concerns with my friends and we have made an agreement. Once a week, regardless of whether the other person is free, we send a text and update the other about what is going on in our lives. We realized that part of why we are friends is because we want each other to feel loved and supported, and having someone to share our ups and downs with certainly fills us with love and support.

 

 

So, to all my friends, young and old, near and far, thank you. Thank you for bringing me joy and being a part of my life. Whether we talk once a day, once a week or even once a year, I appreciate you and I am so thankful to have you as a part of my story. Each of you makes up a chapter and the story would not be complete without you. “I am so happy just having you in my life. I am so happy with you in my life.” - Gerry Cullity