Debunking the Myth of High School Friendship Expiration Dates

Someone once told me that the people you meet in high school are friends out of convenience. They said seeing the same faces day in and day out that would eventually cause you to ease into friendships. It’s true, in a way. Most likely, you grew up with the same 500 people. You transitioned from using beginner pencils to running the track to taking AP exams together, without ever paying it much attention. Some of the people that surrounded you during these times could be the same people who will surround you in defining moments to come. It is totally possible that your high school friendships don’t necessarily need to end the moment you walk across the stage—if they’re the right ones.

There were, of course, those friendships that were quite literally just convenient. I went to a school of close to 3,000 kids. I could have talked to a new person every day for the four years I was there, and I still would not have even made it close to meeting everyone. I was a part of my middle and high school’s band program for all seven years, so I can at least say I talked to every band kid. I can also say that I met 75% of the people I considered my friends this way. Everyone had the same schedule, same days off, and likely the same classes. It was almost too perfect. They became the people I talked to the most—primarily about the next marching competition, how rehearsal was, what color bow to wear at Friday’s game—but most of the time never about anything serious.

It doesn’t matter if you weren’t in band; you still had these friendships in high school, it just might not be obvious. It could have been the tight-knit fourth period, the debate travel team, the after-school writing club...you know? The group of people who you shared something in common with that made for an easy friendship. These people are the ones who made high school bearable. These are the ones who after graduation you catch up with once or twice in the first month and then slowly drift apart. And truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that. The convenience of your friendship is just simply no longer convenient.

Then, there are the friendships that are able to withstand distance, conflicting schedules, and so much more, because their foundation is built on more than seeing each other everyday. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve had the same three best friends since before I knew just how meaningful the word was. Despite now being separated by hundreds of miles, they remain some of the most important people in my life—and yes, I met them in high school.

The friendships that last somehow always seem to have a funny beginning. Maybe it’s because you both forgot your gym clothes on the same day, or it's the person you accidently knocked over in the hallway on the first day of freshman year. Often, you may forget the beginnings of what ended up becoming lifelong friendships. They didn’t form because they had to; instead, they just did, naturally.

High school friendships are predominantly formed out of convenience, and the day you cross the stage is the same day you’ll speak to 97% of the people you grew up with for the last time. The 3% you will remain friends with into the future are important. The older and older you get, the fewer and fewer people know who you were at eighteen, and no matter what anyone says, it’s crucial to stay in touch with the people who made you who you are today.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4