In high school, most of us attached to a particular crowd or group, and essentially found our “place.” Mine was with the “popular” kids who partied every weekend, ditched school and parked our shiny cars in the staff parking spots. Thankfully we all jumped off our high horses in college and learned drunk photos on Facebook don’t define how cool we are; much less earn us a degree.
Now we’ve all connected with new people who might have similar majors to ours, live in the same dorm building, or are in the same club as us. A lot of us might have realized it’s a challenge balancing our college friends with our old high school ones. As much as we want to build our futures and continue meeting new people, our past is still an important part of our lives that helped shape who we’ve become.
So how do we maintain both? Is it a matter of time management or attempting to combine the groups? Firstly, you have to actually want to keep the relationship or relationships strong. It’s understandable that some friendships are no longer worth the trouble; part of growing up is realizing some people are on a different path than you, which makes some friendships difficult to hold up.
If you want to stay close with old friends, you’ll find a way. Lucky for our generation, social media comes in handy for situations like this. I don’t always have time to sit down and call all of my old friends, so it’s nice that we can stay updated with tweets and Instagram photos.
However, social media isn’t enough to keep a lifelong friendship strong. When your old friends come home from their respective colleges, put in the effort to schedule a coffee date or grab lunch to catch up. Once we’ve all gotten comfortable in our new circles of friends, it feels easier to stay in that bubble, but our old friends that we love deserve our attention as well.
Sometimes balancing old and new friendships can involve some compromising. If an old friend is having a birthday party, she most likely expects you to stay out of plans your new circle might be forming for that weekend. Keeping a balance means having to miss out on parties or events once in a while, but at the same time, you can’t please everyone. The important thing is to not choose one group over the other every time.
Whatever the situation, we have to accept the fact that it’s normal for people to grow apart. It’s likely we’ll end up staying close with a small handful or even just a couple of our old friends in the future. As our academic careers grow, we’re learning that certain things are more important than having plans on a Friday night; that’s something I’ve come to understand. In high school, all I cared about was having a huge circle of people to hang out with. Now my focus is mostly on my grades, where I’m transferring, my jobs and where I see myself in the next few years. I know that friendships are going to come and go along the way.