The challenge of maintaining friendships

Having good friends are really important, as good friends are ones that help you make better lifestyle choices, support you in tough times, and so on. In particular, school and university both give you plenty of opportunities to socialise and make new friends. Some people find it very easy to make friends. However, what is often harder is maintaining friendships, and this is particularly true when it comes to keeping in touch with school friends when you start university. I know this was something I definitely found tough. In this article, I will discuss why school friendships can sometimes be so hard to maintain whilst at university, and talk about things that helped me maintain my school friendships whilst at university. Note that whilst I focus on maintaining school friendships whilst at university, a lot of this article is relevant for when it comes to maintaining friendships at any stage of life.

One reason why I found school friendships hard to maintain at university is simply because everyone went to different universities. It is common that when at school or at sixth form, most of the friends you made were ones that were in the same school or sixth form as you, meaning that you used to see a lot of your friends very frequently. Furthermore, especially for the friends that were in the same year as you during school or sixth form, you would have some of the same academic goals, e.g. getting good A Level grades or getting into medicine/Oxbridge. The fact that you saw these friends frequently and you had things you could relate with meant that it wasn’t too difficult to maintain these friendships. When you school friends go to different universities, not only do you see them less frequently, goals and priorities start to change. Therefore, slightly more effort needs to be put in order to keep these friendships, which is not always easy.

Probably the most common reason why school friendships are hard to maintain at university is the fact that everyone has busy schedules. Everyone that has been to university will know that university life is full on, and in addition to your degree, a university student has to balance additional responsibilities such as job applications, being active members of societies and even small things such as cooking food and washing clothes. Moreover, university students will also have social commitments with friends that they have made at university. Despite this, some might say that one should be able to find the time to speak to or meet up with school friends. However, one thing that I have found, and I am sure other people have as well is that it is extremely easy to get consumed by the full-on nature of university life. I have had times where I haven’t spoken or met up with certain school friends for 6 months and I just haven’t noticed because I had been so consumed by university life. In some cases, when you speak and meet up again after 6 or more months, it will be like nothing has ever changed. However, in other cases not speaking to certain school friends for a long time will result in these friendships naturally drifting apart.

It is inevitable that you will eventually drift apart from some of the friends you have made in school, and that’s fine and expected. However, there are certain friendships that you make in school that it would be shame to lose. Whilst I don’t want to give too much specific advice on how you can maintain school friendships whilst at university, there are two things in particular that helped me maintain some of my school friendships whilst at university, which I would like to share:

  1. Accept that you are likely to speak to school friends less frequently – that doesn’t mean that you should change your expectations on how close you will remain with your best friends from school. However, it is likely that you will not speak to or see your school friends that have gone to different universities as frequently as before. This doesn’t mean that things will change between you and your close friends, but it is important to accept that the frequency of communication is likely to decrease, especially in busy periods. Accepting this will mean that it will be easier to naturally adapt and remain close with your best friends from school. When expectations are too high between two friends in the sense that they have to speak frequently no matter what, then there could be strain placed in the friendship. For me, I initially found it hard not being able to speak or see my school friends as often as I used to, but when I began to accept the fact that I didn’t need to speak to them every day to maintain my friendships with them, things became easier.
  2. Maintain honesty and trust – this is something that should not be underestimated. Honesty and trust are two vital components of any friendship, as this helps build the foundations of the friendship over time. Even if the dishonesty is small, over time it builds up until you realise you can’t trust the other person anymore. It could well happen that you don’t speak to any of your school friends that often when at university, but if you ensure that honesty and trust is maintained then there is every chance that you will remain close with them. One thing that I have tried to do recently is to make sure that honesty and trust is maintained in all my friendships, which has particularly helped me stay close with non-university friends.

Note that a lot of what is said in this article is applicable for friendships at any stage of life. Furthermore, the tips that are provided are ones that helped me but these are by no means the only things you can do to maintain your friendships. At university you get the chance to meet so many new people and make friends for life, but your school friends are equally as valuable. Therefore, it is certainly worth maintaining friendships with your close friends from school in addition to making lifelong friends at university.

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30 thoughts on “The challenge of maintaining friendships

  1. I’m really lucky in that I’m still really close to a large group of school friends, probably more so than my uni friends. Most of us moved back to Cornwall when we had families so easier to maintain the school friendships. Most of my uni friends in London.

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  2. I do agree that you need to accept that you may not see each other as much as everyone has their own commitments. I’m still friends with a group of girls from school after leaving 12 years ago and while we don’t see each other as much as we’d like it’s lovely that we’re all still close x

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  3. Friendships are very important for every person. I think it is necessary for all people have close friends and try maintain their friendships!

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  4. Im still friends with a girl I went to Infant school with. I don’t see anybody else from school. I went to a very academic Grammer and if you didn’t excel nobody wanted to know you. My son, however, is now away to uni with lots of his friends and I can see his friendship group remaining as they grow older

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  5. Number one is a big thing for me. I only realised just how little I talk to them apart from one the other day when I looked at some old photos. I only talk to the other more regularly because she works in the same field as me!

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  6. I am still friends with some of my old school friends although I do not see them as often as I would like.

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  7. Great post! You are right about school friends. After school is over not everyone will keep in touch with you or remain in your life. My group of friends has become smaller since high school but I kind of like it better that way.

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  8. I can proudly say that still, I am close to my school friends. And yes trust is one of the most important and tender aspects of all relationships.

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  9. Best days of my student life are school days. I still can’t forget those memorable days. I had a great time with my friends.
    Such a great post you wrote and I just remembered the golden days.
    Keep writing ☺️

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