How To Deal With Outgrowing Your High School Friendships

Featured image from Cameron Smith

Before we pack up our bedrooms, kiss our pets goodbye, and move off to college, we are given advice from everyone about what to expect, what to bring and what to do/not do. We know the importance of a shower caddy and that using a planner is a do or die thing.

But what no one really mentions is how our high school friendships start to change once we are moved out of our hometowns and onto our college campuses.

Why do these friendships end? How do you know they are ending? What can you do to keep them alive? What do you do when your high school friendships are over?

Our friends from high school saw us at our worst and our best. They supported all our wins and helped us through our failures. They made us who we are. If this feels true then why do our friendships from high school end?

Maintaining friendships in college is hard!

Between exploring campus, meeting new people, and figuring out the whole college academics thing, we become so busy there is hardly enough time or energy to update friends from miles away. And vice versa. There starts to be a gap in friendship when there is less involvement in one another’s daily lives.

High school friendships aren’t always “real” friendships…

A lot of times the connections we make in high school are based on our interests in the same things or the fact that we live near each other. Which isn’t a bad thing. But take into account the limited variety of potential friends you have to choose from in your hometown. Did you become friends with people because they offered the highest qualities of a friend or because they were the most suitable out of everyone else?

When I went to college, I met the Yang to my Grey, even though I already thought I met my Yang in high school. It wasn’t until I had this new friendship in college did I realize that my old high school friendship wasn’t as strong or as deep as I had always told myself it was.

Your friends (not just you) are moving on. And that’s okay!

The group message that had been thriving for years in high school, was startlingly quiet. I missed get-togoethers because of classes, and started to feel that I was being intentionally left out. I felt abandoned by my friends and totally alone.

I finally asked one of my high school friends straight up what I had done to be left out, but she told me that no one in the group was really talking anymore. I was relieved it wasn’t just me, but then sad that our friendship felt like it was fading.

Like the last season of Friends, I didn’t want it to be over. These were my best friends, my ride or dies, my absolute day ones! I was desperate to keep it alive. 

Putting in the effort to stay in touch is a great step, but don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go “back to how they were”.

I started texting and snapping in the group messages enthusiastically, trying to revive the rhythm we used to have in high school. I couldn’t get the same energy back that we used to have, but I kept maintaining the effort and soon others were too.

The little updates and upbeat greetings felt good, but it was nothing like it used to be. I racked my brain trying to find a solution to bring us back to where we had been until I come to one conclusion: I couldn’t.

The high school friendships I had are alive, yes! But they aren’t the same as they had been. The glory days of my high school friendships are through, just like the glory days of high school itself are. Cherished, but a part of history now.

It feels like a breakup because it basically is. Just like any other breakup there isn’t much you can do except shed some tears, accept it and wait for time to give you the answers.

Look back at all the good and bad times you had with your high school friends. Be happy about those times. But remember, you are moving onward and you can’t always take everyone along.

Olive Menchaca

I believe in the kindness of strangers, fate, and loving yourself thoroughly. I'm a Michigan dweller, but my minds probably lost in the clouds somewhere.

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