If you’re one of my college friends, you would know I reluctantly left State College this summer to go back to my hometown. We talk on FaceTime and have group Zoom calls, looking forward to the fall and reminiscing over the last couple years.
If you knew me in high school and somehow stumbled upon this column, presumably by googling my name to check if I’m still alive, well... this is a bit awkward.
Few people from my hometown know that as of today, I’ve been at home for a month, flying under the radar and not posting on social media lest I alert my old classmates that I am now available to hang out for the next three months.
About a week ago, an old friend of mine reached out to me for the first time in a year. She was the only one in my original high school friend group I managed to stay in contact with after graduation, but I hadn’t spoken to her since the pandemic started. We had our reasons for not keeping in contact— COVID, schoolwork, vague excuses of being busy.
What the hell, I shrugged. I’ll pay her a visit. I rode the subway for an hour to get to her apartment.
We went through the motions of friendship— we went out for lunch and shared stories from our times in college. I sat on her couch in the same way you’d sit in your new partner’s house when you meet their parents for the first time. We made empty promises to meet up again soon.
It was clear our relationship was on its last legs.
On the bumpy ride back home, I looked to find something or someone to blame for my old friendships ending, but it really isn’t anyone’s fault, is it? It’s natural to change. It’s expected. We’re supposed to change when we move away to college.
Many high school friendships are founded primarily on the fact that you lived in the same city, had the same classes and ran with the same crowd. They dissolve because you no longer have that in common.
Our personalities and interests change. We begin to grow apart once we start to make our own niche in the world. It’s not pleasant to think about our relationships ending, but it’s a part of life. The natural, fizzled-out end of a friendship is just a sign you’ve both grown.
It’s important to recognize that we evolve and flourish as we get older, and we grow as people until the day we die. And while your relationships may end and you go your separate ways, they will always be a part of your journey.