9 Cold Hard Truths About High School Friendships

My high school years weren’t marked by my first romance or getting too drunk at a party and ending up like a Very Special Episode of a corny family sitcom. Instead, friendships defined those four years to the point of still resonating with me deeply today. The good moments were, well, brilliant. I’d hang out in my friends’ bedrooms, listening to music and gossiping until we both fell asleep, or I’d talk to them on the phone into the wee hours of the morning. I thought that this is what your teen years are supposed to be, that these moments were perfect in an almost cinematic way. But dreamy nights playing on abandoned swing sets didn’t last. Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that even the most seemingly brilliant friendships can end, messily.

By junior year of high school, the cohesive friend group that my friends and I have accumulated since middle school started to fracture. The girl I considered my best friend was going through a rough time, and she retreated to the comfort of other friends in our circle instead of me. Parties became awkward, sitting all together at lunch was rare, and the FOMO was strong, especially when you knew that half of the group was hanging out at somebody’s house and didn’t invite you.

By the time we all graduated, our friend group was shattered and half heartedly put back together with scotch tape. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I graduated from college not that long ago that some of those old friendships began to slowly rebuild, but others never did. Friendship is one of the most important things you’ll get out of your high school experience, but it can also be ugly, gut wrenching, and effing heartbreaking. I don’t want to scare anybody reading this, but I think that whether you’re starting to see your friendships splinter or if you think everything is totally fine, you should check out these nine cold hard truths about high school friendships. Let’s end the fantasy and get real.

Your Friendships Probably Won't Last The Duration Of High School

You probably think you're going to beat the odds on this one, or maybe this is already your reality and you're in some serious denial. Hey, you might be one of the precious few who manage to maintain your friendships through four whirlwind years, but chances are, things are going to shift. Even if you maintain some friendships, the nature of them might be different. That one friend you told everything to in freshman year might still be your pal by senior year, but they're not the first person you think to text anymore. Your besties might turn into acquaintances, or even your absolute enemies. Again, you might beat the odds, but to assume that you'll get through high school without a single friendship altering denies some simple facts of life.


People Change, Friendships Drift

I think that a lot of people imagine friendships ending because of some massive falling out between two people when, honestly, that's not how it always happens. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that most of the time friendships drift because of personal issues or basic personality shifts. Interests change, lives change, and circumstances alter. Sometimes, our friendships just happen to get caught up in the mix, too.

Unfortunately, this drift might feel more natural to you than your friend, or vice versa. As somebody who has been on the Not-Ready-To-Drift side of things, I know that this feeling can be absolutely devastating. But it's important to know that sometimes the "it's not you, it's me" excuse really can be applied sincerely to these kinds of situations. Our teen years change us in so many ways and it's unfair to act as if that kind of growth isn't fair unless it's on your terms.

Some Girls

Your Friend Group Will Splinter

Have a fairly large, dedicated group of friends? Do you do everything with this squad, from hosting parties to eating lunch together? Sorry to break it to you, but that squad is probably going to splinter in some way, shape, or form by senior year. While some friends might disappear from your group entirely, others will split into something akin to camps, and while you all might band together every now and then, the camps will be the new normal. If you're somebody who is caught in the middle, congrats, you're going to have an awkward time ahead of you.

My Mad Fat Diary

You Could Very Well Have A Falling Out With The One Person You Least Expected

Nobody wants this to happen, but it does. I never expected that my bestie from ninth grade would end up being someone I felt awkward hanging out with one-on-one by senior year, but it happens. Why? Like I said, people change, drifts occur. If you feel like you're making a big effort to hold on to a friend of yours, you're trying to work against a strong tide.


You Might End Your High School Years With A Different Crop Of Friends Than You Started With

I know that this post sounds super doom and gloom, but it's not always the end of the world to start hanging out with new people. Maybe your new group of friends share more of your beliefs. Maybe your new friends want to go to gigs, unlike your older ones. Maybe, just maybe, the people you're surrounding yourself with feels right, and your old friends don't feel quite so right anymore. Or, if you're on the opposite end of things, maybe your friend is changing into someone you can't really relate to anymore, and the slow fade seems natural. Look, whether the outcome is good or not, this has a very real possibility of happening to you in some way, shape, or form. Be open to it.

My So-Called Life

You're Not Going To Be Friends With Some People Ever Again

Whether you had a falling out or amicably drifted apart, there are going to be some former friends who will remain a part of your past, but not your future. When referring them in a story, you'll say, "this guy/girl/person I was friends with" instead of "this guy/girl/person I'm friends with." You might strike up some small talk with them every now and then and they might like your Instagram posts, but you aren't going to ever really enthusiastically hang out together one-on-one ever again. This might sound like a nightmare, but sometimes it happens so naturally that you won't even really miss it.

My Mad Fat Diary

You Have To Actually Make An Effort To Maintain Your Friendships Post-Graduation

People erroneously assume that just because we have social media, it's easier to keep friendships alive. Sure, in the most basic sense: It's a lot easier to contact a friend now than it was twenty years ago. But being friends on Facebook, liking pics on Instagram, and viewing a Snapchat story doesn't mean that you're maintaining a friendship.

Staying friends with people from high school, even people you ended up being super close to in senior year, is incredibly difficult. Why? College, being far away from each other, more growing. The only way that I've been able to maintain and retain friendships that weakened in high school was by hanging out IRL with old friends whenever we could. Over the holidays, my old friend group from high school even got back together to hang out; I thought this would be super awkward, but it was actually really fun. But none of this would have happened without serious effort. Without it, your friendships won't flourish past graduation.


Change: It Can Suck

Or, it could be for the best. Honestly, each situation is different, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at your friendship situations as realistically as possible. Are you putting more effort into a friend than that friend is putting into you? Do you find yourself hanging out with different people a lot more now? Do you sense tension between your otherwise harmonious squad? Then change is coming, and it's up to you to figure out the healthiest way to deal with it.

Pretty In Pink

You Might Never Get Over Your Friendship Ending

You know that friend I mentioned in the intro? Well, we're on better terms now than we were toward the end of high school, but our friendship will never be the same, and I'll probably always feel a little hurt by the way it fizzled out. I've accepted that I'm always going to feel bummed out about it, and you might end up doing the same thing. Just remember not to beat yourself up over it, because there's no point. What happened happened and the past is in the past. Remember that you have other friends in your life to lean on, and that's what really matters.


Have you learned any of these truths the hard way? What happened? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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