High school breeds transient friendships

March 20, 2017 — by Saya Sivaram

Senior reflects on the high school social experience. 

I have 91 unread text messages on my phone. To many, this indicates a lack of responsiveness, but for me, it’s just an attempt to avoid all of the friendships that have turned negative over the last four years of high school. The texts are nothing but a last-ditch attempt to maintain any semblance of a relationship with those I used to be close to, and replying to them just perpetuates the falsified facade of positivity.

It’s inevitable that some of the friendships you form will end up not working out for a whole host of reasons, but I think that the plethora of soured friendships that I have makes me somewhat of an exception.

For a long time, I blamed the people around me. They were too immature, too judgmental and not supportive enough. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that friendship is very much a two-way street. I’m as much to blame as others are, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize it.

During my sophomore year, I left school for a significant chunk of time due to health reasons, and when I came back, I was bitter and jaded. Few of my friends had contacted me to ask how I was during that time or where I had gone. I felt abandoned, and when I came back, I pushed everyone away, choosing to acquire a whole new group of friends.

I don’t regret it — this moment of catharsis was part of my growth as a whole, but I do wish that I hadn’t been so quick to write off these people.

It was only in retrospect that I realized that the reason people felt so distant from me all the time was that I was hiding behind a towering wall of insecurity and defensiveness. Simply put, it was hard for anyone to become my friend.

I’m now trying to repair those friendships and make amends in my last semester of high school, but there are certain things that can never be fully healed and many of these broken friendships continue to hurt me more than they should.

High school is the time of fleeting relationships. I know that once I graduate in June, I’m not likely to ever see some of my peers again. The friends that I have right now are not guaranteed to stay my friends, and the close inner circle that I have gained will be in flux once we all disperse to different corners of the country.

But the knowledge that many of these friendships are transitory does not justify a worsened quality of friendship. Far too often, relationships are riddled with gossip, rumors and mistrust. I know that for me, I fear telling anyone anything too personal because of how quickly that information could spread.

There’s an implicit lack of trust that I have with most people. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule — people that I would trust with my life — but I keep most of my peers at a safe distance

And it’s that lack of trust that creates a chasm too great to overcome and breeds friendships that are not beneficial to everyone involved.

This is something that I could and should have avoided. If I had been slightly less cynical and trusted the motives of my peers a little bit more, I may have grown closer to those people with whom I am now distant. But the truth of the matter is that what happened was less a result of spiteful intent and more the inherent nature of high school.

As for me, I have no doubt that 91 unread texts will eventually turn into 100 and then 150. I just hope that one day I can create an environment for myself in which that number goes down, as I truly believe that if it happens, it will correlate with my happiness going up.

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