Outgrowing your old friends?

So you’ve been at Cambridge for a few months now and you’re struggling to balance those old friendships back home with the new ones that you’ve made


University opens up your whole world; from the new opportunities, people you meet, personal growth, etc. But what happens when your old friends message or visit? Do you ignore them? Brush them off? Do you cringe at their stories? Beg them not to tell your new friends about who you really are? Does it somehow feel different? Perhaps they remind you of just how far you have come and looking back can be hard. If so, it’s totally normal.

The first thing you need to do is decide if the friendship is important enough to keep trying. Don’t define importance by length of time. Ask yourself, does this person make me happy? Do I enjoy spending time with them? Do we have fun? Do you like the person you are when you are with them? If the answer to any of these is no, then consider why.

Is it worth trying to keep this alive? Like romantic relationships, friendships end in various ways. Friends come into our lives at different stages and stay for various lengths of time. No-one tells you that losing a friendship can hurt. The pain can be undeniable; the loss of someone who you were so close to for so long, who really ‘knew’ you, now feels almost like a stranger. But it may be necessary for your own sake. No friendship should be one sided and if you’re the only person working to keep this going, or you’re the person ignoring the texts, perhaps it’s time to let it go.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to spend time and make memories with your new friends

Don’t throw away friendships for people you have literally just met

The friends you made in the very first few days of university are probably not the same friends you have today. They were born out of necessity; survival and sheer need to not be alone during that initial time. Be mindful that the friends you have now may also change. Is it really worth abandoning your old friendships for sake of these new ones?

Catching up with my girls back home over the holidays

It’s ok to have different friendship groups

It’s important to remember that it ok to have different friendship groups. Perhaps it’s easier to keep things separate. It might be nice to catch up when you get home.

Staying in touch can be hard but worth it

If you’re anything like me your once hard to ignore WhatsApp group chats will be fading and comments like, ‘I can’t make it that day’ will be all too familiar. Maintaining friendships with people in different locations is tough. Try to organise an event and pick one day in a few weeks/months time. Make sure that everyone has enough notice and sticks to it. Even if as the date nears, people drop out, make sure that you attend and enjoy it.

Celebrating milestones such as birthdays are even more special when you make the effort

Don’t force it

Obviously if the friendship is becoming toxic or putting a strain on you in anyway it may be better to have some space. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends ever again, it just means that you’re putting yourself first and that’s really healthy. Setting boundaries can be hard but looking after yourself is far more important. Perhaps suggesting catching up around Easter and having space until then may help. Give yourself time to be without them. Do you miss then? If the answer is no, you’ve probably already moved on.

Growing and changing is inevitable and friendships come and go. Remember to be kind to yourself. Try to surround yourself with people who make you feel good. If all else fails, take some time to think before making any hasty decisions. Why not watch a few episodes of arguably best 90’s friendship group on Netflix and remember, I’ll be there for you…

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