Lifestyle Relationships University

It’s OK to leave people behind

girl woman The Growing Up Guide friends friendships

We’ve all been there. Left for university or a new job etc. Sad goodbye to our friends but promised to stay in touch. The next thing you know it’s been 3 months and you haven’t heard a word from them. They haven’t text you. They haven’t event tagged you in a funny cat video!

Abi Donoghue explains why it’s OK to say goodbye to people you once called friends, and leave it at that.


Last month was quite a weird month for me. It was a month of realisations and a lot of home truths. How cliché.

Coming home from my little university bubble was always going to be difficult, but I think in my mind, nothing was going to change that much.

But boy oh boy was I wrong.

Having been so used to living with friends and having people around me constantly to talk to, and just drop everything to go to the pub had become the norm for me. So coming home has been hard.

For a good few months I sat alone all day, everyday slowly going mad. Putting in effort to try and meet up with people, suggesting plans that never fell into place.

The more this happened, the more frustrating it was for me.

But as time went by I started to realise, I’ve put enough effort in at this point, and if that effort hasn’t been returned then, oh well. That’s life.

People come. People go. The people who go are generally not the people that you want to keep in your life anyway, good riddance if anything.

Research shows that friendships formed in Year 7 and 8, when your 11-12, don’t tend to last. Only 1% stay friends come the end of high school. On paper that seems quite shocking, but in reality, it really is true.

I know so many people who no longer speak to old friends, friends that once would never part and planned their lives out together.

I’m one of those people. I have loads of ghosts of friendships past.

There are many reasons for people drifting apart. Chuck Palahniuk – my favourite author I might add –  wrote a fantastic line that sums it up pretty perfectly; “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known”.

Basically, just as you grow out of the clothes you wore in high school, you grow out of some of your friends.

Being exposed to new people and picking up new personality traits, inside jokes, new world views, you become less and less like those BFF’s from your pre-teen years. Especially as they are also being exposed to new views, new people and slowly moulding into a new person.

A better model in some cases, like a personality upgrade. Unfortunately, that upgrade means sometimes you have to leave a lot of people behind you.

Once again, I re-iterate that I am in no way qualified to be handing out advice, my life is a mess. But the way I see it is that it’s okay to do a Pontius Pilate, wash your hands of it.

No need to feel guilty, or to feel bad. The sooner you realise that it’s perfectly fine to leave people behind, or in some cases let people carry on ahead, the better you’ll feel.

You won’t be sat up wondering why you’re second best, why they won’t make plans with you, why they won’t answer your questions, your messages etc.

It may make your social circle a hell of lot smaller, but, the best things often come in small packages. I would know, I’m one of the best people I know and I’m only small.

JOIN THE GROWN UP GANG ON TWITTER , INSTA AND FACEBOOK AND TELL US HOW MANY OF YOUR SCHOOL FRIENDS YOU’RE STILL IN TOUCH WITH

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