If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people grow apart. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a dramatic, door slamming, throwing water in your face type of big exit. It’s the subtle and gradual, but still apparent, effects of time and how people just change. The fact that people begin to change and begin to want different things is something I recently learned and am still dealing with in high school,
This year I realized that I was no longer compatible with the girls I was so close to with before. Coming to that realization was hard. It was hard to admit that things weren’t the same and that I wanted something more. It was hard to imagine moving on from a group I had laughed, cried, shared my life, and grew together with for four years. It was hard to think that I would ever be able find another group of friends that I would get as comfortable with.
But trying to figure out what I was supposed to do after and how I was going to do it was even more of a challenge. So many fears and anxieties came to mind. Where would I sit during lunch? Who would I text when I needed outfit help? Who would watch “The Bachelor” with me? Who would I talk to about my latest crush? Who would I shamelessly vent to without being afraid of judgment? Change in general is hard and intimidating, especially when it comes to such a personal and intimate part of our lives. Finding my new friend group is definitely a work in progress, but here are some things I learned so far.
Take the time to reflect
Take time to look at your friendships and what is lacking. Try to figure out if it’s something that can be fixed. If yes, think about how. If no, think about what you want to do next. Continue to think and reflect as you begin meeting new people. Although it’s not good to have the shadow of an old friend group looming over your shoulder, it’s still important to look back and learn. And although I also don’t think it’s good to have a “perfect friend group” checklist, use that time of reflection to see what you want from and what you can give in a friendship. I realized that I needed a group that didn’t necessarily have to be as academically focused as I am, but that I needed friends who were able to accept that on some weekends I would have choose my AP Euro Baron’s book over hanging out. I learned that I expressed care through small things, like always replying to texts, but I easily felt unappreciated. I learned things about myself that would help me have better friendships.
Have an open mind
It’s definitely easy to constantly compare your previous friend group with the new ones you’re beginning to form. Each person and group dynamic will be different, but don’t let different mean worse– different isn’t better or worse, it’s just new. Use this open mind when getting to know new people too. I found that I made new friendships with people that I wouldn’t have thought of ever becoming close to. Whether it’s the people you make new friendships with or what those new friendships will be like, don’t come into something new with a set of expectations.
Don’t burn bridges
Leaving a friend group can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be hostile. Don’t initiate or reciprocate cattiness. If there is anything to remember in general, it’s that a little bit of respect and kindness goes a long way. Don’t feed into any arguing and just do you.
Don’t be afraid
Lastly and most importantly, don’t be afraid. This is definitely easier said than done, because going into something blindly without any inkling of the possible outcomes is hard. It’s scary, and it’s natural to feel that way. But try not to let that fear consume and eat away at you. Don’t be afraid to start talking to new people and go out of your comfort zone. Disregard judgment and allow yourself to be you. In turn you will find people who love that real and true version of yourself, people where conversation comes easy, people you’re excited to see– people who can become friends.