Why it's totally normal to drift apart from high school friends

July 13, 2017
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Uni can sometimes be a bit lonely. Some people can have the strongest squad, only to slowly watch it fracture after graduation. It can be easy to feel like you’re the only one this is happening to, especially with social media keeping you updated on other school friend groups who are taking European holidays together.

So, is it normal not to stay friends with your old school friends? Sadly, yes. There are so many reasons why this can happen, but just remember, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you feel old friendships slipping away.

Growing up

Those years at uni are probably the years when the most changes, and the people change with it. Before you know it, you go from being a kid whose parents pack their lunch every day, to actually having to schedule your own dentist appointments.

Those formative uni years are pretty much a fast lane into adulthood, and it’s natural if your friends and you take different tracks. Growing up is a natural part of life, and even if you grow apart from your friends, it doesn’t make the childhood friendship that you had any less special, it’s just some friendships have Best Before Dates.

School friend convenience

Ah school. Remember how perfectly everything was scheduled and you didn’t have to organise your own catch-ups? You’d have scheduled “friend time” in the form of lunch, and even scheduled socialising time with the school formals all your friends happened to be at.

It can be easy for some friends to just arise purely from convenience, and because you both don’t want to be that weirdo sitting alone in your English class. So, then when the friendship takes a little more work than just being forced to be at the same place at the same time, it falls apart. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just life.

Studying in different states

Long distance friendships are hard. Yeah, they exist, but they’re never quite the same as the friendship you had when you saw the other person every day.

It’s pretty common for people to move interstate to study, especially those who went to school in cities that are not Sydney or Melbourne.

So it’s normal that your old best friend lives on campus and makes new friends, who do get to see them every day.

You may feel a bit forgotten about at first, but new friends don’t take away what old friends had, and there’s always social media for keeping in touch.

Other serious relationships

For most people, part of being an adult is being in a serious relationship. Where high school relationships were basically two kids going to the movies and then reporting back every single detail to your friends later that night, uni relationships are more likely to involve moving in together and joining your lives together.

Understandably, this can mean spending more time with your significant other’s friends than your own, or even in some cases, neglecting your old friendships as you put your attention onto your other half.

No matter which side you’re on, this one sucks, but hopefully your old friends can be patient as you establish your relationship, or alternatively, your old friend can get back to hanging with the squad.

Anne Rathbone

Anne is a law student at Flinders University, who spends way too much time with her cat and not enough with actual humans.

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