When I started college, there were just too many relationships in my life to keep track of. I had a whole group of friends I talked to, a boyfriend I’d been seeing for long enough to matter and close ties to my parents and grandparents.
Of the 10 or so people I was absolutely sure I’d never fall out of contact with, I maintain lines of communication with four of them; those being my mom, grandparents and a girl that I had been friends with for 10 years before graduating, so she gets thrown in by default.
Now, I’m not sure if that kind of thing happens to everyone. Some friendships and other relationships may very well survive the transition from high school to college. I know of only a few high school couples that stayed together through the first couple of years of college and ended up getting married. Considering all of the distractions students encounter in the college dating world, those precious few seem even more valuable.
Friendships seem to go the same way. Outside the random Facebook or Myspace message, the friends that kept people going before leaving for school seem to have reverted into mere acquaintances a little too quickly.
I used to wonder why this occurrence was so common. Surely, the bonds we spent years strengthening in our home towns were worth more than a few weeks of adjusting to the college lifestyle. And if they weren’t, what made the ties established in college any different? Why would they not fall apart like the high school ones did?
Shortly after, I went through the mental equivalent of getting into a car accident with an 18-wheeler. A series of unfortunate events happened that left me in somewhat of a nihilistic state of mind when it came to those relationships. Basically, I got to the point where I either cared about someone a whole lot, the kind of someone that would reciprocate that endearment, or I really just didn’t care at all.
That was how I came to understand what happens to former friendships or relationships. When you start this new life with all of its new experiences and challenges, the person you are completely changes. That high school sweetheart or that 16-year-old goofball is still inside somewhere, and I won’t claim for a second that such identities are not capable enough to hang on to the people they cared about most. However, at the same time, there’s this new person on the outside that likes doing new things with new people, and has less to talk about with high school friends that weren’t at that crazy party or don’t know this new guy.
That is where the line is drawn. With a new life falling together all around us, it is impossible to keep all of the friends that we had before and make room for the new ones that have found their way into our hearts and living rooms. When you get right down to it, you love the people you love, and you come to accept the fact that letting go of the ones you don’t is the only logical idea.
When you come to college,and your friends and boyfriends and family members continue on their own paths, everyone grows into their own lives, and those lives aren’t as closely intertwined as they were. That change cuts out the people that were just around because of common interests or convenience, and makes more room for the ones who are here to stay.