Losing friends is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing

Not all friends are worth keeping

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Parker Peters / Daily Collegian

By Alanna Joachim, Collegian Columnist

It is ok to lose friends. Now that might be a controversial opinion for some, but I have found that maintaining some friendships can be more stressful and draining than it is beneficial.

I have always someone who hates losing others. I am sentimental. I hold on to people, the idea of who they were, and good memories I shared with them far past the time of my life when they served me well. Over my time in college, I have discovered that not all friendships are meant to last lifetimes. Despite Hallmark movies preaching otherwise, I have seen many friendships come and go naturally throughout time. While this might be painful and difficult to accept, in order to be a good friend to everyone I do care about, I cannot put effort into either maintaining or repairing friendships that do not benefit me anymore.

Coming to college after high school was the first time I learned the importance of these sentiments. I had plenty of friends in high school and often found myself between several different friend groups due to participation in different classes, extracurriculars, and sports. While I enjoyed spending time with all of my different friends in high school, I found that once I entered college it was incredibly difficult to keep in touch with all of these people and even to make time to see them when I was home briefly on breaks. I did not have any issues with any of these friends, but we simply drifted apart due to timing and lack of constant communication like we had every day in high school. In some cases, I felt as though I was the one continuing to reach out to these friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in months or years. Eventually, it became tiring and almost stressful to try to maintain friends who were not giving me the same effort as I was to them.

With the end of my senior year fast approaching, I find myself in a similar predicament. I enjoy spending time with my classmates and acquaintances I have made throughout my four years of college, but it is unrealistic to assume I will maintain every connection I have made in college after graduation. For most of my classmates, we will come together at graduation, share memories, and then part ways without more than nostalgic goodbyes. Many may stay in contact after graduation, but many will not. Feeling distance between people who may have been a large part of my college experience is sad but a common sentiment that many will face. It is perfectly normal to be unable to maintain the same level of connection to college friends after graduation once everyone has their own careers and lives outside of Amherst.

There is often a lot of pressure to keep “old friends” simply because these friendships have existed the longest. However, the value of a friendship is constantly evolving. A friend I met last week could become one of my best friends, while a friend I have known since second grade could be extremely distant and lack connection to my present self. The most important factor in my friendships is if the other person adds benefit to my life. While I love catching up with old friends who I have lost touch with, I have stopped trying to force connections with others or chase after one sided friendships.

If friends from the past are not willing to grow and evolve as you do, then the friendship is not worth continuing. It is pointless to place a friendship on a pedestal simply because it began earlier than others. Choosing to devote energy and time to friendships that suit your current lifestyle and headspace will leave more time to cultivate new relationships and experiences with others. True friends that care and put effort into a friendship, will continue to do so.

Alanna Joachim can be reached at [email protected]