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Navigating Friendships in College : Friendship Cleanse

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

This amazing school has taught me a lot about friendship and how to approach new friendships. Something my mom has told me is that not everyone you meet will be your friend, or even your acquaintance. I thought I understood her, but I really didn’t get the extent of it until this fall. I lost a lot of friends throughout my four years at CU Boulder but it didn’t really matter until someone I thought was my best friend became very distant from me.  That experience showed me how not everyone you consider  a friend in your own eyes sees you the same way. 

When this was  happening I had to reflect on my own feelings towards this  friend. We have to recognize that ending a friendship can trigger so many different emotions, from sadness to disappointment to relief, and possibly some sort of liberation. When this friend started to distance herself from me, I felt this liberation coming off my shoulders; meaning I did not realize that I was walking on eggshells around her. Everything that I had to say she would counter with something negative that would put me down and make me feel little.  

I think the main thing that hindered my friendship was that the communication was not there. We had two very different ways of communicating and we never found a middle ground where we could communicate and understand each other. In friendships, sharing your feelings, concerns, and issues are very important. If you don’t share, those feelings might pop up later on in that friendship. If these issues don’t get resolved, then it will be festering and making it harder for you to communicate with that person.  I know that on my end, my communication skills could have been better. Looking back, there were many things that I could have done better. For example  once she started distancing herself from me, I could have initiated the conversation instead of letting it fester and putting our mutual friends in the middle of the drama. 

A week after I came to the realization that this friendship ended, I surrounded myself with support from other friends that in a way became my backbone. I say that because if this person was your “best friend,” and you’re used to spending time with them and it suddenly ends, it can be difficult.  I went through a period of time where I kept thinking that it was all my fault. In my mind I was saying things like, “I did this wrong,” “why does she hate me,” and “how can I fix this?”. My friends had to pull me back to earth by telling me this was not my fault, and that I am a good person and it might have been a friendship that was only here for a period of time and not a long time.  Then I focused on my own self care by doing activities that I loved, which included building Legos, journaling, and doing paint by numbers. These activities gave me peace of mind, which during this time I really needed. 

I think the hardest lesson I learned was understanding that it’s ok to let go. I think in this friendship I was grasping at straws, wanting to keep the friendship alive even though I knew she did not want it. Friendships are just like any other relationships: they can evolve, or simply come to an end. I had to give myself time to process it and let my friend do so too. Maybe one day they would like to have a sit down talk to have an actual conversation, and in a sense give us both some closure. But for me, my closure came through going through the grieving process, and I am ok with that. 

Not every person that we meet will be our friends and not all friends are friends that will stay, but the ones that do are the ones that teach you the most about yourself as a whole person.

Kennedy Pickering

CU Boulder '24

Kennedy is a Senior at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Women and Gender Studies, as well as Sports Media. I love to write about my life, and the nerdy hobbies that have taken a hold of my life, but I mainly love to write about different versions of feminism as well as my life as a Black student that attends a PWI. When I am not writing you can find me binge-reading the new young adult romance novel, all the movies in the Harry Potter series, rewatching Disney classics from TV shows to movies.