“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold” 

I grew up really believing in that one line from a Girl Scout song. Believing that IF I was able to remain friends with the people I grew up with, while also expanding my circle by making new friends, that I would have all the silver and gold one could get. However, the older I got, the more I realized this one-liner expresses a nice ideal of an ever-expanding circle of friends, but ideal is not reality. Not for me anyways. I know that’s not the case for everyone and that sometimes friendships do turn out the way the song intends, and I commend those whose do, but my experience within friendships is not the same. This doesn’t mean I have had friendships end in tragic ways each time, though. Most of the ended friendships I’ve had have fallen victim to the unavoidable result of growing up and growing apart. Of course, I’ve had a few friendship breakups that were more traumatic and ended in blocking each other on all forms of social media and well, life. But every friendship I’ve had at every stage of my life, has made me the person I am today. Luckily, I have lost more friends due to growing apart than any sort of betrayal or falling out, but the constant change of friendship happens to majority of people during their lives and that’s just that.


Lets start from the beginning… 

Everyone has friends from the day they are born. You are automatically destined to be friends with the kids of your parents friends, who are close to your age. You’ll have these friendships for a while, years even, but eventually you may outgrow these friendships that were, in a way, picked for you. I know a few people personally who have kept their “Mommy and Me” friends through adulthood. In my case, my mom did not go to “Mommy and Me” as I was her 3rd baby and by that point she pretty much had giving birth —> raising a child figured out. However, I was close to the other kids that grew up in my neighborhood and ones I attended preschool with. Those friendships lasted pretty long throughout my Elementary school years, but when life gets in the way and people move away or grow at different rates then one another, that’s where the growing apart sets in. These are usually the type of friends that you will remember forever. You will keep tabs each other thanks to social media, you wish them well on their birthdays, you comment to congratulate them for life achievements, and you still send each other old photos you may find in a box somewhere in storage.

Elementary school

Fast forward and its your middle school years. I don’t know about anyone else, but in my opinion, middle school is the worst. People are mean, everyone looks awkward, and no one knows who they are. You still find your people, though. Maybe they are from your classes, maybe from the bus, or maybe from your elementary school. If you’re lucky, you’ll go to the sister high school a block up the road and take your middle school friends, that you’ve created tight bonds with for the past three years, with you. As I’ve stated before and I will probably say again, this was not the case for me. Unfortunately, I went to a high school that had a different sister middle school than the one I attended. This meant that I would have to, once again, make new friends. Then, after two years at a different high school from my middle school friends, I changed schools for my Junior and Senior year. This meant that I would have to, once again, make new friends. Statistics say that people hold the most friendships during the Middle – College years of life; you have ample opportunities to meet new people through schools, hobbies, extra curricular’s, and even weekend parties. Not much effort has to be made into these friendships, because you most likely see each other everyday from some activity listed above. At this point in my life, I still had people from elementary school, middle school, both high schools, and baton. This allowed me to keep different friendships from five different groups up until my college career. Of course, there were a few friendships that fell apart during those years, but I had a mindset of the more the merrier and quantity over quality, so with every friend lost, there was another friend gained.

How many followers can I gain on Instagram?
How many people will wish me a Happy Birthday?
Who’s throwing the best house parts this weekend?

Those sad questions were mine, and most middle to high schoolers, criteria for friendships in teen years. Once I got to college, I noticed things change. A shift in the friendships I held onto for so many years. These friends, that I used to see everyday, were now hundreds of miles away. This doesn’t mean I completely lost all of my friends, but the level of friendship was changed from talking every day to reuniting back in our hometown on Holiday breaks from college a few times a year. The college years are hard enough to navigate on their own, without adding the pressure of building a new social circle, while also keeping your old one. In my case, I had joined a Sorority with hundreds of girls, who were automatically supposed to be my “new best friends”. (I mean, I paid thousands of dollars to have 400 “best friends” that probably couldn’t even tell you the month I was born in, but my Greek Life experience is a story for another day.) Throughout college, I created a core friend group consisting of some new and some I came to school with from my hometown. Most of us are still friends today. 

My circle <3

It was after college graduation, during Covid, when I noticed the biggest change in my friendships. After being locked up in our houses for almost year, I was unable to see a lot of my friends. It became clear to me that some of the friends I had would not outlast the year-long quarantine that was Covid-19. I will never forget the feeling I had when I realized that some of the friendships I had were based off of convenience and social climbing. It was hurtful and overwhelming that I had to lose friends at such an awful time of loss for the entire World, but there was a tiny sense of relief knowing that I would come out the other end with friends who proved the importance of quality over quantity. 

My self-discovery journey started during Covid. I truly realized and became comfortable with who I was and who I wanted to be. This new found self discovery and confidence helped me land a job, which is where I noticed a change in friendship again. Now that I had a real job, both my weekdays and weekends became busier. I wasn’t readily available anymore. I never meant it to offend people, but I was happy with the new path I was on and didn’t want to risk it for a vacation. I started to really see who was there for me. Who was happy about my new employment, who congratulated me for it, who understood that it was adulthood. I also started to see the opposite, though. People I thought I was going to be friends with forever that did not even know the company I worked for, that got upset at me, or talked behind my back, because I was unable to be as available anymore. It still makes me sad sometimes to think about what once was, but the day I finally understood that wasting energy and effort on people who will be consistently unsupportive or unaware of huge life achievements are undeserving of my friendship. It probably goes without saying that these times are hard when they happen, but once you can accept the fact that these changes within friendships are inevitable the older you get, it becomes a relief.

I am a strong believer that people are put in your life at certain times for specific purposes. When that purpose is served, and the friendship ends, it’s because it was supposed to. I have met people that have impacted my life in incredible ways and I will wish them well for the rest of my life, making sure to hold onto the memories and life lessons they provided me. I have also shed some dead weight friends, that has gifted me unbelievable growth, both internally and externally. Navigating through friendships, both new and old, is confusing and hard. I am still figuring it out myself at the age of 23. If I’ve learned anything from this past year of shedded friendship its this: you deserve to have people in your life that support you, encourage you, respect you, and stand by you. Once you finally realize your self-worth, it becomes easier to cut off those who don’t.

A 2019 statistic states “The average American has three friends for life, five people they really like and would hang out with one-on-one, and eight people they like but don’t spend time with one-on-one or seek out.” This statistic proves to be mostly true for me. Shoutout to those three, five, and eight people. I will cherish and appreciate the friendships you have given me forever.

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