The Evolution of High School Friendships

Everyone talks about how the friends that you make in college are your friends for life, and I don’t doubt that. Though if there is one thing that my first year of college taught me, it is that the friendships I made in high school are some of the most resilient friendships that I will ever have. High school is a weird time. For me, it was even stranger because, after my freshman year, I transferred to a boarding school, leaving home at age fifteen. Within my first semester of being at my new school, I met my three best friends with whom I would end up eating breakfast almost every morning, going to church on Sundays, starting a student organization, and making memories that hang as pictures on my college dorm wall. The girl with whom I spent my fall break freshman year of college was a girl I met as a pink-and-blonde-haired fifteen-year-old. Recently, I reconnected with my senior year suitemate, and when she reached out to me, she addressed me by the nickname that I hadn’t been called in over a year. 

My high school friends are all over the world now. After graduation, they went to San Francisco, Indiana, the Netherlands, Dallas, London, and New York City. I have watched them pursue their dreams and experience some of their biggest life changes. But we don’t talk all the time. I recently called a friend for her 20th birthday; it was the first time we had talked on the phone since being at college. We both had been too caught up in our freshman year and trying to figure out the new circumstances of life—and that is okay because when her face popped up on FaceTime, it was like we were right back in my high school sophomore year English class, where we met. 

Three of my closest friends from high school at the end of our sophomore year in 2016

Over the summer, I had an experience where one of my closest friends from high school whom I had talked to regularly decided that she needed some time away from our friendship. She cited that our friendship had gotten difficult because we had become different people since being in college. We were pursuing interests other than the one we had in common in high school. While hearing her reasons hurt and they weren’t something I agreed with, I knew that because I cared so deeply about her, I couldn’t force her into a specific mold of what I thought our friendship should look like. Being told she needed time away was an important lesson for me in how I approach friendship. 

High school friends are the friends who know how to hold on to you but also the ones who know how to give you space. The beautiful thing about high school friends is that they know where you come from. They know who you were before you had to figure it out—before you had to figure out a major and then figure out what the heck you are going to do with a Religious Studies degree, before summer internship was a stress-inducing phrase, before the siblings’ weddings and the mom going back to work after 20 years. They knew you before all the changes. High school friends are important in college because they know that life gets busy and they don’t need to talk to you all the time to maintain that bond, and when you do reconnect, you are reminded of just how far you both have come. 

Me and three of my friends on our graduation day


Image Credit: Feature, Author