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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

leave the pettiness behind

College is known for being a time of great transition, and one factor of your life that can change dramatically is your social circle. Most leave behind a group of friends in their hometown that you hope to stay close with, while at the same time making new friends your freshman year. It can be hard to manage just one, let alone two, social circles when you have responsibilities to academics, extracurriculars, internships/careers, family, romantic relationships and more. From personal experience, the expectations I had for friendships in high school no longer applied to my existing or new ones now that I was in college. I found myself on a completely different schedule from the people I was closest to, and often felt guilty for my own shortcomings or upset by my friends’. But while I was used to getting upset over a forgotten text or a missing invite in high school, this became less and less realistic as I adjusted to college. In response, I had to completely alter the way I approached friendships if I wanted to maintain them.

A significant approach I had to change was my assumptions of people’s intent. While it is tempting to get hurt if you fail to receive a text, aren’t invited to hangout or feel like a third wheel to certain friends, it’s crucial to remember that everyone is so busy dealing with everything else in their life that it likely has very little to do with you. A forgotten text is likely just forgotten, not a subliminal message saying they don’t care about you. A coffee date you weren’t invited to probably spurred out of pure chance and convenience rather than a conscious attempt to exclude you. This isn’t to say that no one can have bad intentions – a pattern can indicate deeper problems. But if you trust and genuinely care about your friends, it’s important to give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t trying to hurt you. Besides, we’ve all done things like this without thinking much of it because our minds are preoccupied. Not to mention, you can’t invite everyone to everything – college social circles can be complicated and it’s often better to delegate separate time to see everyone.

Beyond trusting my friends’ intentions, I had to move past the mindset that somebody had to work for my friendship for me to contribute as well. I avoid the logic of “I don’t text you because you never text me”, or “I didn’t invite you to hangout because you didn’t invite me last time”. If you want to maintain relationships, there’s no problem with being the first one to reach out, and it doesn’t obligate your friends to do the exact same. Everyone is so busy that they might need a little push to go do something or to catch up – it truly might not cross their mind otherwise. But this doesn’t mean they don’t want to, and it’s rash to assume before even trying. In fact, if you refuse to text or call unless your friends do, they probably assume you’re the one who refuses to reach out. Instead, it’s just better to take initiative if you truly want to, rather than complain about nothing happening.

While these last two changes were important, the biggest adjustment I had to make was how I communicated. I’ll be the first to admit that in high school I was afraid of confrontation because I believed it always involved fighting and anger. But since I’ve been at college, I’ve realized you can talk about anything if you do so calmly and respectfully, especially with the people you love. While it may be uncomfortable, it’s exponentially better than keeping it inside and complaining to others, which is where drama usually begins. From my own perspective, I know there are times I hurt my friends, even if it’s unintentional. But I would rather them come and tell me what I did wrong so we can move forward, rather than let it build until it explodes.

Even with all of these changes, it’s possible that your friends don’t take the same approaches. But while this is frustrating, it’s important to work on what you can control, and move forward from there. While I still get upset at times and run into conflict with my friends, I try my best to be the bigger person and not fuel any fire. I’ve found it’s much more manageable than when I was in high school, and friendships have become more of an asset than a chore. The key is to maintain standards for how you’d like to be treated, but to be forgiving when your friends and yourself may slip. Most of us are trying our best and just need a little grace and support from those we love the most.

Angie Bloechl

Wisconsin '25

Angie is a junior at UW-Madison this year studying economics. She love listening to podcasts, reading & painting!