14 FebWill Those High School Friendships Last (And Should They)?

Rach, the “teen”

One of my good friends, S, is going to college a few states away from me. My two best friends, A and D are like brothers to me. Nothing can break our friendships. D and I are off to the same school (yay!), and A is already at college. It’s hard sometimes to stay in contact with him, but we make the effort. But with S, we’ve been friends for only a few years, it’s going to be a lot harder.

She’s a good friend, she’s fun to be around, she’s the closest I’ve ever had to a classic best friend. You know, sleepovers, movies, girls nights filled with popcorn. Man, we even share bathing suits when we swim in her pool. I want to stay friends, and I’m sure she does too. But how do we do that? Lots of phone calls? Stay friends over the internet? It’s gonna be hard. Especially because we’re both such social butterflies. We’ll both be socially and academically packed during the year, so, are we just going to have to stay friends only over breaks and during the summer?

Did you stay in touch with your high school friends? How do you suggest we keep our friendship going?

Mary, the “mom”

It’s funny because I’ve been wondering about some of the same issues for my daughter who will graduate middle school next year. In our town, many of the public middle school students end up going to private high school. So, my daughter’s group of friends will likely experience some fallout. Although, I think there is often some reshuffling of friendships as “middle schoolers” become “high schoolers” and kids who were friends start to make different choices. Of course, none of that is as dramatic as what Rach is facing as she and her friends head off to college.

I think that as you go through each stage of life, you make some new friends and some of the old ones drop off. But, some of those the old friends hang on. My husband and I each seem to have retained one close friend from each stage. It’s pretty cool when you’re in your mid-40s and have someone you can reminisce with about middle school or high school.

I was tempted to say: “Que sera, sera”, the friendships that are meant to be will survive, but really, I think it’s the ones you nurture that will survive. And, in this day of text, IM, facebook, etc., it’s a lot easier and cheaper to keep in touch. So, try to nurturing those friendships by keeping in touch. It will be worth it down the road.

Brad, the “dad”

We’ve been thinking about the survival (or lack thereof) of friendships across the middle school/high school and high school/college gap a lot around here, with both my daughters. After all, this September one of them is off to college (an hour away) and the other’s off to a (distant, charter-type) high school, and frankly, I don’t expect many (or any) of the school-based friendships of either girl to survive the upcoming jumps.

The thing is…that’s not entirely a bad thing. The high school girl has a ‘friend’ who’s been nothing but a vicious, manipulative little … problem? … for years now, literally since elementary school, and I’m actually hoping that, once geography and academics separate them (the Vicious Little Thug isn’t going to college), she’ll be 100% history. And that’s good: she’s done enough damage already. Meanwhile, the young’un has made a couple of acquaintances in middle school that sure look to me like they’re headed for trouble – too much interest in the ‘dangerous’ lifestyle choices re sex, drug, and authority – and I’m quite happy to see them heading off in other directions as well. Good riddance, he said snottily.

Me, I had one friend from second grade until well into my forties, and ultimately only a thousand miles and a marriage (his, not mine) put any distance between us. And I have other old buds that go back twenty-five years now, so I know ‘extended friendships’ are possible and often very good for the soul. But I also think that – by and large – the ones that should survive, the ones that are healthy and beneficial to both parties – to survive the tests of time and distance. Those that don’t make it probably shouldn’t. (And no, I haven’t noticed that the wonders of e-mail, texting, and webcams have really changed the situation all that much; the distance that grows between friends is really one that grows as shared experience dwindles, and technology only prolongs the agony, if it makes any difference at all)