1. You can’t give up your college friends because you have no idea where to make new ones
Saying goodbye to your high school friends is made significantly easier by the fact that you know you’re about to make a bunch more. There might be some slight trepidation about meeting new people, but it’s quickly set aside when you start making friends in your dorm and classes and the youthful offenders program a court mandates you to enter when you get your first underage drinking violation. Post-college life has no such safety net – making friends in real life is freaking hard. The people at your job may be twice your age, busy raising a family, and spend Happy Hour complaining about the herniated disc in their lower back. Soon enough you’re on the verge of becoming one of those lonely movie characters that picks up a hooker and pays her “just to talk.”
2. You’re not bonding over *NYSNC and the NWO
I made most of my hometown friends during middle school. The year was 2000, I was 13, and the cultural landscape was very, very bleak. We young men, wallets secured safely to our pants by totally kickass chains, wound up devising friendships over our love of Limp Bizkit, pro wrestling, and dial-up internet porn. I’m still close with some of those pubescent pals whose interests evolved (barely) along the same path as mine. But for the rest of them, it’s hard for us to relate, since our bonds were forged over entertainment aimed at the hormone-crazed, brain-addled teen demographic. How do you keep up a conversation with someone when your entire backstory revolves around Lance Bass and Bring it On? College friends come at a time in your life when your interests are better established, and in which friendships are less likely to revolve around such arbitrary commonalities.
3. You don’t associate them with awful memories
When you think of your college friends, they conjure memories of late-night drunken conversations, sloppy hook-ups, and the sweet taste of long-desired freedom. Your high school friends can’t help but be associated with horrific acne, “wild” Friday nights at Applebee’s, and that time you puked in a lab sink in AP Biology. It’s not their fault they’re friends with you during what is often the most awkward, embarrassing, and all-around pathetically shitty part of your life. There’s a reason prison inmates don’t continue to hang out after they’re released.
4. No friends will ever get a better snapshot of you as a person
It’s a depth vs. width argument. Your hometown friends get a wide-angle view – my closest childhood friend saw me blossom from a frail, unpopular 7-year-old into the 18-year-old high school senior our class voted “Most Frail and Unpopular.” These friends are there for everything from losing your first tooth to losing your first virginity (i.e., the made-up one when you claimed you had sex with “this really hot girl at summer camp”).
However, I submit that no friend will ever get to know you better at any particular age than your college friends do in that 18-to-22 range. You spend an ungodly amount of time together: eating, sleeping, studying, partying, sitting around doing absolutely nothing. In lieu of your actual family, they might even adopt familial roles (how many groups have the stereotypical “mom” who takes care of everyone’s drunk ass?). I might not know what Jesus would do in any given situation, but I know what my college roommate would do.
5. Your college friends have their shit together
I always try to stay in touch with my home friends because they are my connection to my childhood years. Like, they are the only ones who will remember that time our middle school principal inexplicably played a drum solo accompanied by a fog machine during an assembly in 8th grade – which, honestly, I reflect on daily. But, a lot of my friends from home still don’t really have their shit together. And I’m not one to judge – I was still living at home and unemployed at 24. However, I appreciate that my college friends are a little more settled in their 20s, which makes them want to plan trips, go out, etc. They are more likely to have their own apartment and disposable income, whereas my high school friends are more likely to have a neck tattoo of a boa constrictor crushing a Bud Light can.
6. Your friendship was forged in the mystical waters of Lake Natty Light
Earlier, I mocked the ridiculous inanities that can serve as the basis for childhood friendships, so it probably seems contradictory that I’d consider partying a legitimate opportunity for bonding. But it is! Truth be told, nothing unites near-strangers faster and more effectively than the socializing power of alcohol. There are people I’ve worked with for five years that I still feel like I don’t really “know” because I’ve never gotten drunk with them. If I had met them out one night in college, we’d probably be in each other’s weddings.