Evolution of high school friendships

The old saying “all good things must come to an end” reigns true for seniors each year around this time when All Saints’ prepares to release us into the world of college or other endeavors. Leaving All Saints’ behind can prove to be overwhelming for students as we enter into a world of unknowns. We have to take care of ourselves, make new friends – which some of us haven’t had to do since Kindergarten – and ultimately exist in a foreign environment. This shift can cause us to lose touch with the people from our former lives who we all swore would be “best friends forever.”

“As much as you love your high school friends, you have to make time for change and new friends,” said Skylar Yacullo ’17, All Saints’ alumna and current student at Providence College. While losing touch with friends from high school is of course disheartening, sometimes it is necessary to let go of relationships that are keeping you from moving forward. This is not to say that we should cut off all of our friends when we leave for college but, rather, to fight for quality over quantity.

“I’m only in touch with five friends from high school, but I’m extremely close with those five,” said Amanda Endsley ’10, All Saints’ and TCU alumna. Yacullo also estimated still being in touch with around five or six of her high school friends. This accurately aligns with a study that estimates that people are only able to maintain close relationships with five people, although the study is not directed towards high school friendships alone. When examining the amount of people we feel extremely close to in high school, it can be difficult to imagine losing touch with some of them, but it happens for a variety of reasons, most of which aren’t necessarily negative.

“Drifting apart from friends isn’t happening because you’re a terrible person or because you stopped being a good friend. It’s a part of the human experience. We are all growing up and leading very different lives, sometimes in extremely different places, making it more difficult to keep a friendship alive and well. No matter how hard we fight to keep these friendships alive, there will be friends from high school that will sadly remain ‘high school friends,’” said University of Santa Cruz student Eliza Cabrera.

“Everyone’s busy in college with school work, adapting to the new environment and trying to make new friends,” said Yacullo. Having a bit more life experience under her belt, Endsley attributed some of the burden of losing touch with people to settling down with her husband and having kids. While these reasons are typical life occurrences, the root of losing friendships can also stem from changing as a person.

According to a study done by the American Psychological Association, people’s personalities vastly change from the time they are young teenagers to the time they are fully matured adults. As college students are going through the shift from life at home to life on our own, the likelihood that our personalities will change is immense. In the study, researchers found that over time, their subjects’ personalities were almost unrecognizable from their young teenage years.

With this in mind, it is paramount to keep in touch with a select group of people who mean most to us from our past, despite the distance and personal growth. According to a 2010 study, humans greatly benefit from having substantive conversations with close friends rather than small talk with acquaintances. Because some of our oldest friends know us best, we must make the effort to stay in touch with those who matter most to us.

“In high school, things were easy because I was with people I felt comfortable with every day,” said Endsley.  In regards to All Saints’ specifically, we have often known each other for the better part of our lives and sometimes our friendships are purely based upon convenience. We must consider if these are the people we would actually choose to be friends with today or if they are our friends out of habit.

Typically, we are able to distinguish our true friends from our friends who were only meant to last until graduation even if it does take some time. Once we have discovered this, we must commit to making the friendship endure.

“Keep in touch on a weekly basis, and definitely make sure to FaceTime monthly,” advises graduating seniors on how to maintain long lasting friendships. Endsley emphasizes that “the most important thing is making time to see each other.”

With all this said, college and the world beyond are great opportunities to connect with more people and broaden our range of friends. We have an incredible opportunity moving forward to grow as people and to grow in our understanding of friendship. While all of our lives are evolving, our high school friendships will either grow with us or be left in the past.

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