Lessons Learned Freshman Year: The Power of Friendship

We’ve all said it about our closest high school friends at some point: “we’re going to be friends forever.”

However, forever is a very long time, and upon graduation, you have to decide which friendships are worth keeping for that long.

So, how do you determine which friendships are worth it? And how do you make sure they last?

skills you should know

1. Make a list prior to graduation or before freshman year of who is on the chopping block.

During the February of my senior year, I had just about had enough with some of the people in my high school. Not that I’m proud of this personality trait, but I keep receipts. On everything. Like, there are some people who I am still mildly mad at over things that happened in elementary school. So, by the end of high school, you can imagine that after five years of knowing these people, I was done with at least half of them.

Luckily, I am still friends with the vast majority of my friend group. However, I will admit that some people who were technically in my group began to get on my nerves for various reasons, and I, being extremely bitter and petty, actually made a list of people I planned on cutting off after graduation. I ended up changing my mind about some of the people on the list, but it still ended up helping me in the long run.

It helped me find out what I value most in a friendship, and how much I am willing to put up with. And if I didn’t notice changes in behavior soon, then I would know that it was time for the relationship to meet its end.

Also, when making the list, be sure to include your reasons for placing the individual on the list. And store it in a safe place, like a journal (for the love of all things good, do NOT use any sort of digital technology).

2. Make a list of acquaintances you don’t want to break contact with.

I can name a lot of people in my graduating class who I wasn’t extremely close with, and perhaps only talked to them because I was always in near proximity to them, but I still genuinely enjoyed their company. I had a friend (if she’s reading this, she knows who she is) who I sat with in my senior year psychology/sociology period. Even though we didn’t hang in the same circles and rarely saw each other outside of school, we often messaged each other Pinterest ideas that we thought the other person would enjoy, tagged each other in Facebook articles, and both loved cake decorating and baking.

I genuinely liked her, but we don’t talk anymore. I haven’t seen her since her graduation party. However, I plan on writing her a letter just to say that I haven’t forgotten her. Same with quite a few of my acquaintances whom I haven’t really been able to see, and quite possibly might not see again. They may not have been my best friend, but they still played a great role in my life, and I want them to know they’re being thought of.

3. Make an effort to meet your closer friends whenever you’re/they’re in town.

Best friends don’t just break apart without a bad falling out or lack of effort. It is possible that your friendship might not be as tight as it once was, but you should still try to maintain it at the very least. And what do you know? You might pick up right where you left off. I have a few friends whom I can go months, or even full calendar years, without seeing or talking to them, and we go right back to the way things were.

Just make an effort to show them that you’re still willing to put in the effort to maintain the relationship. More likely than not, they’ll be thrilled to see you again!

4. Break things off with old friends gently.

Honestly, if some “friends” are placed on the chopping block, you don’t even need to tell them. Unless they’ve really crossed some lines. Then by all means, my petty self is rooting for you.

But I mean, if they really aren’t that bad of a person, but you just don’t vibe with them anymore, then just let it fizzle out. I had some friends that gradually began to get on my nerves over time (not really listening to me, bossing me around, speaking to me like a child, giving backhanded compliments, etc.), but like, I still kinda care about them. I wouldn’t jump in front of a train for them, but I’d say hi to them on the street.

Honestly, I’d just say to ghost them. If they don’t try to reach out to you, then they probably don’t want to continue the friendship, either.

5. Try to make new friends at your job or at your college.

Work is that much more fun when you have a work bestie. At my work study job, I absolutely loved my co-workers and my supervisor. Like, I would invite them to my wedding. Assuming I ever get married. I could just talk about life with them, ya feel?

I have a few close friends at BW as well. I have exactly one friend at Cleveland State (and ding ding ding, he’s a guy from work, so he doesn’t technically count), but I’ll work on that… once I get there. But at BW, my closest friends are Early Childhood Education majors. Honestly, education majors are the best and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. In terms of personality, at least. Yes, even better than music.

Anyway. Try to make new friends, and don’t just stick to those in your major. Make friends who are STEM majors. Make friends who are *groans and rolls eyes* theatre majors. Make friends who are art majors. When you have a diverse potpourri of friends, you will learn so much more.

Furthermore, it is important to make new friends as an adult, while maintaining your childhood ones as well. Maintain your childhood friendships, because those are the people who really shaped you into who you are today. It is much harder to make new friends once you enter the adult world, as schedules get crazier and you’re no longer forced to be around people 24/7. Unless you work in a desk job. Then um. You might be forced to see people 40 hours a week.

But my point is, it will never be as easy to make friends as an adult as it was as a kid. So treasure the friendships you have, and try not to let them fade.

On that same note, know that you will not always have your friends from high school, and not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. So always be open to new individuals.

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