You’ve made it! You’re preparing to walk across the stage and into a whole new world of freedom, responsibilities, new experiences, and endless opportunities! Or, you’re reading this post-grad, and you’ve entered that new world already! Congratulations!
The next few steps in your personal journey of life and possibly academia or the workforce are critical in helping to plan out a future that sets you up for success. NO PRESSURE! During this time, people will tell you things like nobody stays friends after high school which may lead you to believe you should spend 100% of your Summer with these people you’ve been with for the past 4 years! Or it makes you feel you need to go ahead and cut the cord so that you can move on and make new friends. Either way, they are right, and they are wrong. The people (they) say a lot of things, and while some of it turns out to be correct, some of it is really just up to you.
I’m writing this blog post as my best friend from high school and I plan a trip to Paris for the end of this month. Yep. You read that right. My best friend from high school. Not college, not my current job, but from high school. This defies the lie that your adult self will not be friends with anyone from high school. That being said, she is really the only person I have maintained a steady relationship with since graduation. There is the occasional DM or comment/like from a few others, but for the most part… she’s it. So there is still some truth in the lie. I’m not besties with everyone I thought I would still be besties with, but I didn’t fall off the face of the earth and lose everyone either!
Sidebar: I have actually become friends with a few people from high school (post graduation) that I never had a relationship with during high school. Weird, right? I would love to know what the people have to say about that!
Back to the point… The relationships that survive different colleges, long distances, completely different career paths, and new hobbies and interests – these are the ones that turn into life-long friends. That’s not to say your other high school friends aren’t still awesome, it just supports the idea that some good things come to an end, and that’s okay! Maybe this is the point in the post where I should tell you how I maintained a good and healthy relationship with my high school bestie for all these years.
We are intentional.
She, more so than I, was really intentional in the beginning. Honestly, I have to give her all the credit in our first year or so of college. She made sure that we didn’t drift apart by picking up the phone and call, regularly texting me, praying for me, and making sure we planned stuff when we were both homes for the holidays. We graduated and went to colleges 2 states away from each other. Then, we both got married and ended up living in 2 different countries. We also work full-time and maintain a pretty busy lifestyle, so our relationship is truly built on intentional conversations and purposeful visits.
I’m writing these tips “present tense” because it’s something we still do to maintain our relationship. For example, she texted me yesterday, and I haven’t responded yet because I want to send more than a lol and I’m waiting to actually have an intentional response before replying. We both do this, and it keeps the conversation going without brushing each other off.
We don’t get mad.
This perfectly carries over from the last thing I just wrote. We don’t immediately respond to text messages, and we don’t always answer the phone. We also don’t get mad when that happens because we are adults and recognize that the other person isn’t just sitting by the phone waiting for each other to call. If I need her, I send an S.O.S. text. I type out everything that I think she needs to know, and if it is at all possible for her to respond right away, then she will. If she doesn’t respond right away, then obviously I know it’s for a good reason.
Speaking of S.O.S. texts, we don’t wear them out. Often, we will send a text that says something like Hey, I really need to talk when you have a chance. It’s important, so let me know when you are free for a bit. This lets the other person know that it’s probably not a quick conversation, but it gives them time to fit this into their schedule since it’s clearly a priority for the other person. That’s the thing about friendship, we have our own priorities, but when it’s necessary, her priorities become mine and vice versa.
We support one another.
One of the best pre-marital conversations I had was with my high school best friend. She and her husband were married almost exactly 6 months before the Hubs and I said our vows. She and her husband invited me for dinner a few months after they were married and before I was to be married, and they poured in the most authentic and real perspective of new, fresh marriage that I have ever experienced. It was like having a front row seat to what my future was about to look like. Those were intimate conversations, and because she wanted my future marriage to succeed, she took the time to share everything that she wished someone had shared with her.
The support is from all angles too. We support each other careers, and we are simultaneously each other’s biggest cheerleaders and biggest critiques. When my social media is slacking, she helps me work it out. When she’s stuck on a design feature for her blog, I help her out. Neither of these things is self-serving, but we both aim to always make each other better. That’s a huge value of friendship, not seeking to make yourself look better, but instead helping them to be better by supporting them and their aspirations in life.
We make long-term plans.
Since we live in different countries, all of our in-person encounters are pre-arranged. I’m not going to randomly see her in the grocery store, and she won’t happen to see me in the drive-thru… because we literally live in different parts of our continent. This means that we have to be intentional with making long-term plans. Any time we know we will be in the same city (or nearby), we communicate that. Example: I’m going home next weekend to visit my family and celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday. After booking my flight, she was one of the first people I contacted because I’ll be in her city. If things don’t work out to where we can see each other, it’s totally fine, but I at least put it out there.
Going back to the beginning of this post, let’s just pause for a second to remember that we are planning a trip to Paris at the end of the month. Like how many times have you made plans throughout your high school experience with girls, and you look back knowing that will never happen? So many of those plans with other people have fallen through, but that’s okay… because this one didn’t. She and I have been joking not joking about going to Paris ever since we were in high school, and in a few short weeks, those plans will become reality. This is only possible because we are intentional, don’t get made, support each other, make long-term plans, and the list continues.
We still get each other.
We walked across the stage, side by side because our last names happened to be in order alphabetically, and we never looked back. We didn’t have to because we still get each other. Even though our graduation (2009) was almost 10 years ago, and even though we are completely different people than we were back then, we still get each other. I don’t expect her to be the person she was back then, and she doesn’t hold anything against me from those confusing and awkward high school years haha We grew up, and we did it together, from a distance, but still together.
We have different hobbies and goals in life, but at our core, we are the same people we have always been. We are both career driven, with aspirations to make the world a better place. We still prioritize great food over counting calories, and we aren’t afraid to give someone else praise when it’s deserved. We both have a Christian foundation in our lives and marriage, and that’s something that really continues to deepen our friendship because our friendship is saturated with spiritual development.
So, my letter to you as you begin this next chapter ends with this: Don’t be afraid to move on and take on the world one adventure at a time. It doesn’t mean you have to leave everyone you love and cherish behind, but it’s unrealistic to believe they will all come with you. Do what you can, and bring the ones who fit into the journey. Nourish those relationships, and be forgiving when their life happens at the same time yours does. Timing isn’t everything… Grace, realistic expectations, and support are tremendous values to have in a friendship to help it grow and develop into a lifelong relationship.
– the Wife