On Maintaining High School Friendships


Michelle Lee, Staff Writer

A couple of days ago I got a text from my friend Hana.

“We better not lose each other in college”

I responded with a fingers-crossed emoji.

That got me thinking: is it realistic to expect my friends to stay the same after graduation? 

I decided to ask some of my graduate friends. Surely from their experience, they had something to say about their high school friends. I decided to leave their responses in the exact format that they texted to keep the tone that they wrote in.


What do you miss about your high school friends? How are they different from your college friends? 

“ My high school friends have known me for so long and I miss that familiarity at times. It does take time to develop an authentic, true friendship so for me, my college friends and I are still at that beginning stage of getting close and comfortable with each other.” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“So I love my college friends and I love my high school friends. I’d say the main differences are that your high school friends a lot of the time are your closest friends are the ones you grew up with and so you are closer to them because of the length of your friendships. I also love my close college friendships. They will get closer over time.” – Luke Smith (‘19)

“i miss my hs friends just bc how fun it is to be with them and to just mess around. they’re diff from college friends bc i’m not as close w college friends as i am w hs friends just bc ive known my hs friends for longer” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

“Mm im not really sure if i miss my closest high school friends drastically since i still keep in touch with my closest ones but i do miss the general high school vibe like just being able to see everyone in the hallways and having that close proximity and interacting with people you normally wouldn’t outside of school. In college, you don’t really talk with people in your classes besides the people in your friend group just because the classes are huge. But in high school everyone talked with each other and stuff. College friends were really easy to get close to. We are all basically family since we live together so there definitely is more intimacy i guess with college friends that was established in a shorter amount of time as getting to that same level of intimacy with high school friends. I have a lot more college friends that I am closest with whereas in high school it would be like having one or two close friends with a lot of just “regular” friends but in college everyone is close. – Isabelle Kang (‘19)

“It’s certainly weird to have to make new friends against your college friends who don’t know about fright you have with your parents or what you like to do on the weekends. In away that’s nice because (not to sound dramatic) you can kind of reinvent yourself without it being a big deal.” – Celine Rafferty (‘19)

Do you still keep in touch with your high school friends? If so, how often? Do you wish it was more?

“Yes!! Probably every day for a select few of my friends, even if it is just to say “hi” or send them memes. I also have a lot of different group chats and use FaceTime a lot. Of course in an ideal world, I would talk to all of my friends for more than a few mins a day, but with the studying, jobs, extracurriculars, and also spending time with your college friends, it is very difficult to do so.” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“Yes i still keep in touch we text everyday and facetime a bunch i cant wish it was more bc we talk all the time.” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

“I do keep in touch with all my high school friends we have. This large group chat and we def talk in it weekly and I FaceTime individual ppl now and then. And over breaks we always see each other when we are home and talk about how our college experiences are going.” – Luke Smith (‘19)

“While i am in college, i keep in contact with two of my closest high school friends, meaning like texting and facetiming. When I come back from break, I interact and make plans with a lot more, but as of just regular day-to-day I consistently contact 2 of my closest friendsAnd honestly we are all just so busy with our own college lives and other friends so I think right now is just a good balance between the communication.” – Isabelle Kang (‘19)

Do you think high school friendships are worth investing in even if people go their separate way after graduation? Why? 

“For me, it is one-hundred-percent worth investing in high school friendships. You never know how college is going to go and the quality of friends you will make right away; if you have a handful of amazing high school friends, you can always rely on them for support and comfort when you’re struggling early on to make those connections.” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“Yes ofc it is still worth investing in they’re still my best friends i cant imagine life without them” – Ashley Yom (‘18) 

“i definitely still want to invest in my high school friendships because the key thing is some of these ppl are my close friends and even as we part ways I don’t want to lose my close friends. And I don’t imagine losing them we have this bond where we feel like we could go a few months without seeing each other and just pick up right where we left off” – Luke Smith (‘19)

I think definitely high school friendships are worth investing in, especially if they already have that firm foundation. Undeniably, they are the people who you grew up with and they shared that stage of life with you and they will always be part of your life. College does split friends up, but we all come back and reunite during breaks so it’s not a complete disconnect, so it’s worthwhile to stay in contact. – Isabelle Kang (‘19)

“ I think all the nly relationships worth investing time into are the ones you want to keep up. Not everyone we’re friends with in high school are people we want in our lives, so it’s nice to be able to distance yourself from them.” – Celine Rafferty (‘19)

What advice can you give high schoolers about high school friendships during and after high school? 

“It is of course a case by case scenario where some people might make life-long friendships in high school, but others may want to forget everyone from high school completely and move on to new and better things in college. Regardless, I would tell high schoolers not to feel pressured to maintain the friendships you have in high school and feel stressed about staying friends with everyone you are friends with now. The reality is that people grow apart and friend groups change; but the people who truly want to be in your life will always find a way to be there for you. Also, FaceTime is amazing to keep up with everyone!” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“ENJOY THEM WHILE YOU ARE WITH THEM. Don’t take the time you have with them for granted and not just your high school friends for that matter cherish everyone important in your life for as long as you can be with them for.” –  Luke Smith (‘19)

“just have fun during high school and hang out whenever you are able to and to keep close friendships u should text all the time” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

For the current high schoolers, I would advise them to really strengthen their relationships with their friends because as college comes around it will be hard to keep in contact and your friendship will be at risk, but if you have that firm foundation and trust, it will survive what’s to come. After high school, try to keep in contact with your friends for at least the beginning. It will be hard since everyone is so busy so probably won’t be able to have fulfilling conversations with all your high school friends every day, but a little convo here and there is good. And will make a bigger impact than u think it will. So instead of just dropping everything right away and assuming you guys won’t stay in touch give it a chance.” – Isabelle Kang (‘19)

“Some advice i have for high schoolers is that the people you are friends with feel the same nervousness about going to college that you do. In the few weeks before and after moving into your dorm, you’ll think about the people you miss the most and want to eat out. Don’t be afraid to! If you’re thinking about them, they probably are too.” Celine Rafferty (‘19)

How are high school friends special and how have they helped you grow compared to other friends/relationships? 

“High school friends are the people you spend four (perhaps even more) of your most vulnerable and awkward years with and they know you like the back of their hand. Besides the fact that high school friends have helped me shape my identity during my years at Tenafly, they have served as my support system in college, especially during the first semester when things were rough. College life has really made me realize the value of these friendships because they are the ones who will help you make difficult decisions and are willing to help you navigate college life until you find your people in college.” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“theyre special bc i dont know they just are like its like nothing has changed when were all together also you are able to rant to them about college friends if they’re frustrating u LOL” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

“The main difference I’d say is pretty obvious when it comes to which friends I keep in contact with and which I don’t. It’s more of the sense that you close friends are such an important part of your life you obviously aren’t going to let it die out. i also would say I did have a large amount of friends in high school overall so I can’t keep in contact with all of them. but my best friends from middle school as our friendships slowly died out in high school and we branched out I wouldn’t necessarily expect those to be kept in contact however there are texts now and then “hey how u doing dawg” “what’s up” you know. But I feel like that’s more of a I just wonder how this guys doing in life right now.”  – Luke Smith (‘19)

“High school friends are special because they have witnessed and went through a special life stage with you that college friends have no idea about. They are kinda like a link to your “past life” and your “future life,” as you guys see each other evolve in these new life stages. My high school friends will always be the roots and they could never be replaced. Yes, college friends can reach that same level of intimacy or even more, but high school friends always have a special place.” – Isabelle Kang (‘19)

Do you think you will be friends with any high school friends for the rest of your life? How many for how long? 

“Definitely. I can easily name a handful of people who will undoubtedly be in my life through college, graduation, careers, and beyond.” – Joyce Chung (‘19)

“I can almost guarantee 3 close high school friendships that last for life. But I would expect it to be more in the range of 10 maybe. But I also hope to see all these people again at weddings and reunions and all that. you know it’s like if you are friends with something I don’t really think you need to worry about your friendships dying out. Cause you know you guys love each other as friends and won’t let that friendship die.” – Luke Smith (‘19)

“yes i will definitely be friends w them for the rest of my life hopefully i dont think we would ever stop being friends send the group chat will never die” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

What is the difference between the friends you keep in contact with and the ones you don’t? Is it weird not seeing the same 300ish kids every single day? 

“I would say the friends that I keep in touch with are the ones who take the time and effort to reach out to me and check in at least once in a while, even in the midst of our busy college lives. Friendship is a two way street; it takes both people to maintain that sense of closeness and requires a mutual desire to keep in contact. I definitely miss seeing all the familiar faces in the hallways, especially since I go to a school with over 6,000 kids in my graduating class alone. But it’s also very refreshing to have so many new people to meet and to get to know; once you break out of that Tenafly “bubble” there’s really so much more out there.” – Joyce Chung (‘19) 

“I love being able to see more than the 300ish kids I see everyday my college is something like 10,000-13,000 students overall and within my residence community id say I see the same 800ish people on a frequent basis 24/7 and I guess that’s comparable to the 300 from high school where its like you can just run into someone in the dining hall and just start goofing off, same way as we did in high school you run into someone your even friendly with in the hallways and you just take laps, go the vending machine, look for other people. But it’s also really cool to see a bunch of new ppl everyday and have the opportunity to make new bonds with people if you wish obviously I don’t talk with every new person I meet because that would be insane but yea its nice having a much larger class and over a larger campus in which you all live it’s easier to make friends like that.” – Luke Smith  (‘19)

“the difference w the friends i keep contact with is that this shows me ill be friends w them in the long run and if i didnt keep in touch with them after hs they didnt mean enough for me to keep in touch. the difference is that im not really friends with those i dont keep in touch with really. im a sophomore so its not as weird now but it def was weird when i was first a freshman in college.” – Ashley Yom (‘18)

Even though I’m still a junior, I also worry about losing connections after high school. Even when I get to see my friends every day at school, it can be hard to really catch up because of school work business. I think that the current quarantine circumstances have made a lot of us value the relationships we have now that we can’t freely communicate in person. Being able to interview these upperclassmen for this interview itself has made me more confident about maintaining relationships with people I don’t necessarily see every day. I don’t think friendship has to be limited to a certain timeframe. Like these upperclassmen have already learned through their experiences in college, I think I’ll also find myself reaching out to the ones who have helped me create my high school memories after I graduate.