Why It Might Be Easier To Make More Friends After High School
Before I begin, no this is not your usual, “College is where you’ll find your lifelong friends” type of spiel.
In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Being a commuter to college, I met nearly nobody. As much as I wanted to believe that cliques go away in college, they don’t.
Dormers stick with dormers, athletes stick with athletes, theatre kids stick with theatre kids, and commuters (unless you pour yourself into a specific club, program, or sorority/fraternity) usually fall outside those lines.
Yes, of course, you can meet your lifelong friends in college, but for those who are wondering why they do not live up to that expectation, it is totally normal.
Growing up as an introvert, I have always valued friendships, but it took me extra time before I would become comfortable with someone. Extroverts, on the other hand, usually jump into a friendship quickly.
The biggest problem I found with making friends was that most people were not patient enough to wait for me to grow comfortable and at ease with them. They preferred a fast-moving, instant friendship with someone who had the same personality level as them.
I would never consider myself to be a loner, but I had quality relationships with a small number of people.
The Dry Spell After High School
It’s senior year. You walk the line with your graduating class. Elated for your accomplishments, elated to make it through the four years you were so petrified of. Elated in immense gratitude for the friendships that you would never think you would make. Promising yourself, “We will always stay in touch.”
Then, the summer swings by, and soon, everyone heads off to college. You slowly feel yourself growing farther and farther apart from those you were once so close to. What you swore would not happen, unravels in front of your very eyes.
After high school, I went through a dry spell. Most people who I met through the theatre department, I grew further and further apart from. Well, the reality is that I realized we were never that close to begin with. We were nothing more than school friends.
I continued to remain best friends with two girls from high school. Although college makes it difficult for us to always see each other, especially because one of my friend’s dorms at her college, whenever we do see each other we pick right back up where we left off.
The months in-between my friend going back to college were hard.
I kept pursuing flaky, half-hearted people who were not really interested in becoming closer to me. I would go out with my boyfriend and all his friends being the only girl in a group of guys. Yes, I was grateful I actually had people to hang out with, but hearing redundant comments like, “Does she have any friends to set me up with?” was starting to get old.
I could not help but stand in the bar, envying other girls as I observed them with their groups of friends, wanting that more than anything for myself. I spent such a long time, wishing I could go back to high school just to have my old social connections back again.
This dry spell lasted two years.
Reuniting is the Best Way to Make New Friendships
One day, after being told a half-hearted “I’ll let you know” for the dozenth time from the dead-end friendships I kept pursuing…I thought of something:
“What if I were to reunite with an old friend? A friend from childhood or high school who I grew apart from? Or a person I never really had a friendship with other than small talk, but remember hitting it off really well? After all, the worst they could say is no and my situation wouldn’t change much anyway.”
When people think of wanting to make friends, one would think that means a new friend. Of course, if you can meet a new friend, that’s awesome! But, I know, from experience, that it is often much easier said than done…especially if you are an introvert or reserved person.
So, I reached out.
And I was so happy I did.
Slowly, my circle started growing. Eventually, I brought my friends all together and everyone hit it off wonderfully. I still keep my circle small, but what I have now is something I never would have expected to ever have as a quiet, reserved person in high school and practically all my life.
Here are some reasons why reuniting is sometimes better than making new friends:
The person you are reaching out to already knows of you, so they probably will not think it’s weird if you randomly start talking to them.
The friendship may already have some level of depth to it, whether that be inside jokes or memories.
That person may be in a similar situation regarding friends. (Maybe their close relationships from high school frayed, maybe they are starting a clean slate and removing toxic friends from their life, or maybe they are just at the point in their life where they are able to maintain their friendship with you).
There is much less awkwardness.
That’s right — the best part about reuniting is that there is little to no awkwardness. Although unfamiliar at first, there is still a certain degree of comfort that you would not get from meeting a new friend.
If you find yourself trying to pursue new friendships only to be flaked on or given every transparent excuse in the book, maybe try a different approach: Try to reach out to someone from your past.
I am not saying reach out to that toxic friend who you let go of for a legit reason. I’m saying, maybe reach out to that one friend who you were super close to years ago but grew distant from. Maybe reach out to that friend in your class freshman year who you have on social media that comments on your pictures from time to time. Or maybe reach out to that friend with who you had a silly argument and are ready to make amends.
And you might be surprised to see that the social group you always wanted, came when you least expected it.