Hometown friendships dwindle as time passes

Each summer it seems as if I go through a friendship gauntlet. Perhaps this accompanies the lifestyle of those who come out of high school with an amoeba friendship group — a lot of little groups of friends joining forces and constantly shifting shape to hang out. It appears with the progression of college life, my friendships seem to drift farther out of reach with each passing summer.

It all started the summer after high school. Upon realizing I would never again see most of those who I graduated with, I had a renewed sense of comradery amongst my group of friends. Everything was a group activity and it hardly seemed as if we could go to the beach without being accompanied by three cars full of people. Freshman year became somewhat of an endurance challenge to keep in contact with most of my friends. I hardly spoke to some people that I’ve known since I was a kid. It’s inaccurate to say I’m mad about their new lives away from mine, and it’s almost more inaccurate to say I am happy for them. This change has instilled a forced indifference in me.

With a year of college behind me, returning for the following summer seemed almost strange. People who I’ve known my whole life were somehow slightly different, an elusive change in personality that didn’t necessarily change them as people, but somehow changed how I knew them. Hearing stories of drunken engagements from the little lambs I knew frazzled my image of them as people. I don’t want to lead you to believe I disregarded entire friendships over trivial nights of inebriation. Rather, I was forced to embrace the notion that the people I thought I had figured out were changing. And I had to observe it from a distance.

This summer, the summer before my junior year, it became more apparent that my friends were becoming new people. What bonded together was our history and what was keeping us together was our effort to stay in touch. If I squinted my eyes at them and think back to the fonder days of driving off campus for lunch and partaking in mischievous behaviors at night, I still see them as who they were. Now comes a time to open my eyes and embrace who they are. Their subtle change in demeanor, their new haircut inspired by one of Rihanna’s many looks, these are still the same people that I share friendships with, just transformed versions.

In addition to these transformations, a handful of friends were getting into jobs, internships or serious relationships. Circumstances that forced a distance during a time that was meant to bring us together. Of course there are a solid handful of friends that I couldn’t keep away with a 10-foot stick, but even those friends seem to be thinning out with each passing summer.


Amanda Irons can be reached [email protected].