Senior reflects on the ‘end’ in friends

Pictured here is Amani and her friends from a photo taken four years ago on the steps of a staircase.Pictured here is Amani and her friends on the steps recreating a picture they took over 4 years ago.

As I walked through the front doors of my high school with an already existing friend group, I never would have thought that a couple of years later I would be stumbling into a new group of friends. I was swept up and away from old friends and savored the newfound enjoyment of constant texts and hanging out on every day we had off. At the time, it very much could have been this amazing, but my glorified perception of my friendships and high school friend group was ultimately the downfall—in this case, and many others.

How it started

Due to the way we rapidly all became friends and the liveliness of the group, I began to perceive my friends as always being high energy and the ideal people to be around at all times. However, eventually, those hangouts and group chats, which were the source of so much vivacity, began to die down as did my view of my friend group. 

I desperately tried to cling to my perceptions of our once “great” group through making all the plans and trying to keep group chats active until that was forced to be stopped by the pandemic. The distance led me to slow down and stop reaching out, which only helped me see that close to no one was reaching back out.

The initial loneliness and confusion about what happened to the people I was friends with was startling, but when I started seeing and hearing about others hanging out or excluding me, I took it to heart. I blamed myself at first, questioning what I did wrong, and then shifted the blame onto the others and felt victimized.

What I learned

Unfortunately, this battle of who to blame went on for months before I realized it was no one’s fault. Sure, minor debacles were of certain people to blame, but the drifting of people is impossible to put on anyone.

Delving deeper into this, it was simply unrealistic to be good friends with so many people simultaneously, especially during the years of our lives when we are changing the most. It is also oftentimes harmful to take to heart what others do because, honestly, most of the time they aren’t out to hurt anyone.

This taught me how some people aren’t meant to be in your life forever despite the great memories they make; however, I still questioned why. After talking through this revelation with another friend who went through similar experiences, we came to see how even what we look for in friends differs wildly. 

I am a very observant and introspective person when it comes to my relationships, whether it be remembering their favorite things or picking up on people’s quirks. To me, this seems second nature; however, it is preposterous to assume every friend in my life will do the same, especially in a big friend group.

These heightened and specific expectations for friendships stemmed from what I did as a friend, which was the downfall of many of my relationships. I strived for someone who could instantly do everything I want which just burnt me out emotionally.

Through this experience, I have learned that friends have different purposes and that they will inevitably come and go throughout your life. Albeit somewhat sad, I have decided that dwelling on the past will just ruin your future, and you have to be mindful of what other people’s priorities and lives are like, as well.

Where I am today

This past year, I have spent a lot of time alone and reworked my priorities and perceptions of friendships, but I am still learning. Recently, I have come to learn that friendships that had drifted or ended in the past were not set in stone, specifically with my friend group from middle school. 

Not only have I reignited friendships with them, but I have started to rekindle my friendships with those friends whom I drifted from at the beginning of high school. The difference this time is that I am going into this knowing that our relationships will never be the same as they were before, but they still have the potential to be enjoyable.

Especially in high school and college, people are maturing at different rates, so the rekindling of friendships is very plausible. However, everyone has their own path in life, and you truly never know when things may overlap.

Overall, I’ve learned that it’s important to take into consideration other people’s lives and realize that everyone has countless things going on, so some may stay around longer than others. Rather than getting caught up in the longevity and differences of relationships, it is essential to appreciate them for what they are in the moment because they won’t last forever.