Freshman year of college, I had a group of friends that would do everything together. One of them lived two doors down from me, the other two were the next building over. We ate dinner at the caf together; we went to parties together, to the beach, everywhere. I loved those girls, and I thought we were going to be squad goals forever, or at least for the rest of college. All of us seemed to fulfill different roles and bring out different sides of each other. Of course, there was drama, but we always made it out the other side. And then sophomore year began and everything changed.
Now, I’m only close to one of the girls from my original “inseparable” friend group. Since we all live off-campus, plans are harder to coordinate, and if you’re not convenient, you’re essentially nonexistent. I have another good friend who was not a part of the friend group, but we were friends freshman year. Now we’re best friends because we put forth effort to communicate and see each other. I still talk to my old friends; occasionally we’ll grab lunch or go to Disneyland. I harbor no ill feelings towards them and still love them all. If they needed anything, I would be there for them in an instant. We just grew in different directions, and that’s okay.
My experience is not unique. So many people I have talked to this year mention how much more alone they feel because they lost contact with some of the people in their friendship circle freshman year. And it sucks. It hurts a lot to see old friends hanging out with each other while you’re not invited. The first few months are especially excruciating, but let me tell you this: it gets better. Friendships are two way streets; don’t keep trying if someone isn’t reciprocating your effort. Be friendly with your old pals, catch up and check up on them, but don’t waste all of your effort on one person who simply grew a different way from you.
Know this: you see who your real friends are. The people who check up on you and make an effort are the people worth keeping in your life. They are the people who will be bridesmaids at your wedding and your kid’s honorary aunts. Having a few really solid friends may not be as Instagram-worthy as a squad, but the people who stick with you will have your back no matter what. Just keep on growing, and you’ll find other people to grow alongside you.