I'm 25 now so I've learnt a fair bit about friendships. I've changed as a person since school so my friendships have changes as a result. Learning how to maintain friendships over distance, how to cut out bad friendships, and working out what friendships are worth maintaining are all lessons I've learnt over the years.
Looking back at school, I thought I was pretty confident. I performed a lot (on stage I mean) and was quite loud, now I realise I wasn't at all. Not compared to how I am now anyway. I was in the group below the popular girls, we were sporty and pretty smart, but didn't 'hang out' with the boys during breaks like the populars. We had a leader of that group and although we were close friends for years, I eventually came to see it wasn't a healthy friendship for me to maintain so I ended that. It's funny because that was something that the tarot card reader picked up on. Read more on that experience here.
Now I'm still very close with a few members of that group and we've all changed and come out of our shells since leavng that school environment and growing up. It was all very cliquey at school, and although I enjoyed school to an extent, the social side wasn't my favourite. I feel like everyone is always judging each other, there's an intense hierarchy around popularity and who's going out with who, and generally everyone is put into groups and stays in those groups until you leave in year 11. This element of school, teamed with the body confidence issues I had, meant I had a lot of self esteem problems that I can only see I had now, I didn't think there was a problem at the time.
School friends are convenient. You're in the same classes and you see each other day-in-day-out. You don't need to have that much in common for the friendship to work. In the case of boys (going off what I've seen) they tend to form big groups at school. Yes that's all great at the time, but how many of those friends would they meet up with one-on-one? Or travel across the country to see alone? I think school friends serve a purpose, and you might remain close with a few like I have, but if you don't I think that's really normal too because the person I was in school is a million miles away from who I am now, and therefore the friendships I have are different too.
I really changed through uni. Despite going there thinking I was already pretty confident and mature, I still remember I came back after the first term and my parents said how much I had grown up in such a small amount of time. This is a whole other reason I'd recommend people go to uni. Not just for the qualification, but for the life experience it brings you. Living away from home for the first time and learning to look after yourself, how to meet new people, and basically getting thrown into a whole new life and navigating your way through it on your own means you're bound to change.
Anyway, when it came to friendships at uni there were lots of groups of different people depending on my interests. I think this is the case for most people, you end up having lots of different friends which is great. In my case I had friends for the following groups - my course, my housemates, dance society, and work. When
you're there and everyone is close together you have lots of friends, but then moving on from uni you realise there's only a handful of people you'd actually see individually and travel to see. Just like school, everyone is in the same place at uni so it's easy to have lots of friends, but when people move on and situations change as people grow up, that's when you learn who your true friends are and who is in it for the long haul.
One thing I would say is how much less cliquey uni is compared to school. There's no popular hierarchy because it's all so much bigger. Everyone has moved on from school and goes to uni (most of the time) not knowing anyone, so you're all in the same boat when it comes to making friends. The size difference also means you can be friends with who you want because there's lots of choice. I also think I found this because I grew in confidence so much when I was there, so didn't worry about things like popularity, like you do at school. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to judge you. I also think that's just an element of growing up.
Right now I'm in a houseshare 300 miles from my home town, so it's fair to say I'm far away from a lot of friends. I had to go where the job was, and you can't be picky with these things. I wasn't bothered about where I moved, I just wanted a job.
I have been very lucky with how everything has ended up because moving in the middle of a pandemic where you can't meet people by being out and about means if I hadn't had a social house that I got on with I would have been very lonely. A couple of my housemates are definitely friends for life.
This is great because although I can visit friends and have friends come here at the weekends, I can't afford to do that every weekend. So the fact I've got people here too is perfect. I have set up a life down here, and then I can go off and spend time with friends dotted all over the country too - perfect!
This is rare though. I know more people in houseshares where it's a case of everyone staying in their rooms all the time. That would be fine through the week because of how busy my weekdays are, but unless friends are closeby, the weekends would drag if that was my set up. I thank my lucky stars I picked this houseshare.
Final thoughts/things I've learnt
If a friend doesn't make you feel good, get rid of them. Life is too short to bother with people that don't make you happy.
Quality not quantity.
With true friends, you can go months without speaking to them but then when you're back together it's like nothing's changed.
Don't forget about your true friends. I'm not talking daily messages, but keep in touch.
It's okay if you grow apart from people, it's bound to happen sometimes. Some friends aren't meant to be for life, they could just be for a chapter of your life.