Let It Go: Saying Goodbye to High School Friends in College

Let It Go: Saying Goodbye to High School Friends in College

High school graduation is an emotional event for everyone involved. Parents and grandparents shed tears, graduates and long-time friends share hugs, and teachers give life advice to their beloved students. Escaping the confines of secondary school feels refreshing and liberating, but it comes with big changes for future college students. Soon, they will be presented with an influx of new, unique faces that will take the place of old friends — many of whom they had known since kindergarten (or even earlier).

Over time, the fresh faces seem to take the place of the old, and as a freshman, you can find yourself drifting away from the friendships you thought would last forever. So, when is the time to spread your wings, cut them off, and say goodbye?

You’ll find that there’s no single, right answer to this question. You have different types of friends, and different relationships with each of them. Ultimately, it will come down to what each of you wants, and what feels natural.

With some of your high school companions, you will simply grow apart. You may interact a little on social media from time to time, and catch up on Snapchat, but it’s okay to let these friends go. They will fade into new cliques, as will you, and while it’s nice to stay on good terms with these people, there’s no reason to force a relationship that just isn’t meant to last. Listen to your heart with these people; you have no obligation to continue the friendships if you’re simply uninterested in maintaining the relationship.

For others, you won’t talk at all during school, but when you get back for break, you’ll call each other up for lunch dates, and pick back up each time right where you left off. These are the kinds of friends that will last a lifetime. There’s no pressure, and all the time you spend with them is spent happily. A lot of college students end up like this with their best friends from high school, because it is carefree, but still special. These low-maintenance relationships will come naturally, almost like family relationships, so don’t try to force them — just see what happens.

Still, some friends you’ll want to Facetime and Skype with every day. You’ll send care packages weekly, and they’ll know all about your roommate, love interests, and school dilemmas. It’s always great to keep up with old friends, but it’s important not to let these people hold you back. If you spend too much time texting your high school pals, you’ll never find time to make new ones. As soon as you realize that your old BFF is taking time away from finding your new one, start to cut back a bit. Like a past love that has been tying you down, it’s okay to drift apart and meet fresh faces. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come running back to your high school bestie next summer — with all the more new stories to tell.

There’s no set number of acquaintances you’re allowed to have, but be sure to cut off any old (or new) relationships that are running you too thin. Keep an open mind when meeting people on campus: no one is going to be exactly like your old pals. If you’re open to diversity and new fun, you’ll surely find a natural balance between something old and something new.