You, like everyone, anxiously awaited your high school graduation like Taylor Swift waiting for a Kanye album to drop. The feeling was a mixture of fear, restlessness, and self-importance. You spent half of graduation day crying about how you’ll never sit next to your best friend in class again, and then all of grad night taking shots of UV and celebrating that you’ll never have to see your gross ex-boyfriend in the hallway again. [PSA: You will still find yourself in situations such as these in college (i.e. taking useless courses just to be with your big, and sitting next to that guy you made out with once last semester whose name is something like Brad or Ben).]
That summer you make picture collages with your best friends forever, and when you first go away your group message is full of wild (slightly exaggerated) hookup stories and class schedules so you all know EXACTLY when to call each other. Those texts will get less substantial with more time passing between them. Undoubtedly, you will have variations of this conversation with many of your hometown friends more times than you’ll be able to count:
You: GIRL I MISS YOU!
Her: I miss you toooooo!!! It’s been literally so long!
You: What’s been going on?!?
Her: School is like so hard…LOL but I’m trying! And turns out that Ben from down the hall is a major dick.
You: Omg, I know, school sucks. I’m def struggling. and yessss freshmen boys totally suck.
Her: (The next day at 3 p.m.): Idk why I just saw this! But yeah. How are youuuuu, I miss you so much!
You: (At 6 p.m., because you have some dignity still): I’m good, I love it here!
Her: That’s awesome!
You’ll have the same conversation six weeks later because she posted a selfie that kinda definitely shows her freshman fifteen and you commented “baaaaabe IMY” because THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS DO and she immediately texted you “omg I miss you so much!”
This cycle continues.
You go home for summer and it’s a little awkward now, and you all promise to talk more next year. You are slightly annoyed during these group hangouts, because when did everyone get so immature? You’re probably passing around a “Gatorade” bottle in someone’s backyard while you all try to passive aggressively one-up each other with stories of your true sisterhood and the frat that has sooooooo many hot, but nice guys who all love you (but not, like, creepily).
No one really cares about each other’s stories. Because you all have people at school who experienced those stories with you — sisters who know how special your favorite fraternity is, who actually understand just how sexy your poetry professor was, and who know how terrible it was when you hooked up with an off-limits ex-fuck buddy of a senior sister.
The truth is, many of those hometown friends were fair-weather. They’ll be fine to get drunk with when you go home and remember why exactly you wanted to get so far away from your parents. You’ll move on and remember them fondly (or not), but they’re only connected to a different, past you.
Of course, some of those hometown friends will survive that first year and the years following. Those are true fucking friendships. The ones that can withstand the distance and your birthdays being celebrated separately for the first time. The friends who you can’t (or won’t) go even a couple days without at least Snapchatting (or more likely, FaceTiming for hours recounting drunk stories) are genuine. The friends who learn all your new friends’ names and follow them on Insta (and who aren’t jealous of them) are for keeps.
Truthfully, though it’s sad and it may hurt, if a friendship fades with distance and time, one of you probably didn’t care enough to save it. That’s fine. We’re busy people with philanthropy events and wine mixers to attend. You have hundreds of friendships to make, mostly while drunk, which will likely be forgotten and ignored before class on Monday. You have handles and handles of alcohol to drink with people who actually care about the same shit you do. Continue to put effort into those friendships that feel strong after your first year. And with the other hometown acquaintances, simply continue to comment “omg can I be you?!” on their pictures, because you’re not a total bitch..
This featured image is a stock photo from our database. The people photographed are not in any way associated with the story.