Growing out of high school friendships is healthy, normal as people change, grow

Wendy Zhu, Managing Editor (Print)

At the time of me writing this column, I’ll be graduating in about four weeks. In about four months, I’ll be away at college in a new city almost 200 miles away from home. As I’m nearing the end of my high school career, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared or anxious or uncertain about next year, given that none of my close friends will be going to the same school as me. I’ve spent many nights wondering how I’ll manage to maintain meaningful relationships when all my current friends are hundreds or even thousands of miles away; but as tempting as it is to desperately cling to old friendships for comfort over the next four years, it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal for friendships to fade, especially in the transition from high school to college (and ultimately, to adulthood).  

Graduating from high school and moving on is certainly a bittersweet experience, but it doesn’t have to be a completely negative one. When I look back on my old elementary or middle school friends, for instance, I feel a sense of nostalgia, not sadness. In that exact point and time in my life, those friends were the people I chose to surround myself with, the people I needed. But as my life changed, so did my social circles. Maybe geographical distance got the better of us, or maybe we just naturally drifted apart. Granted, I’m still close with some of those friends, but my point is it’s normal if friendships you once thought would last forever don’t end up being that way. After all, each friendship serves a different purpose, and not all of them are meant to be lifelong ones. In an ideal world, I’d remain close with my high school friends all the way through adulthood, but realistically speaking I’m probably not going to stay in touch with each and every one of them. That’s not to say I don’t love them all dearly—because I do—but rather to acknowledge the fact that people will come and go. People will grow and change, and that’s just a part of life.   

At the end of the day, however, my high school friends will always hold a special place in my heart, regardless of how long our friendships last. I am so incredibly grateful to have had an amazing high school experience (COVID-19 pandemic and all), and I will forever cherish the wonderful memories I’ve made with those around me. For now, I’ll make the most of the remainder of my senior year and relish every moment I have with my friends. And even though I have no idea where I’ll be 10 years down the road or what my social circles will look like by then, that’s OK. After all, high school is only four years of our lives, and I know my friends will all go on to accomplish great things in life, with or without me by their side. 

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Wendy Zhu at [email protected]

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