Hey Harmony: Old Friends, New Friends
At the end of last year, I finally had the perfect friend group. But, now that the school year has started, it feels like everything has changed. My two best friends seem to barely notice me. They have the same class schedule, and mine is different, so I don’t even see them very much during the day. When I do see them at lunch, they don’t act very excited. They just turn to each other and continue to have the conversation they were having before. They talk about making plans to hang out over the weekends, but I never seem to be invited. Even when I do get invited, it feels like it’s out of pity, not that they genuinely want to be around me.
The rest of the friend group isn’t much better. Sometimes, I get to lunch late, and nobody even pulls up a seat for me at the table. I have to do it myself and I feel super awkward, like I’m an outsider. We don’t really have the same interests anymore, so I barely even participate in the conversation, and no one acknowledges me.
These girls used to be my best friends. Now, when I’m around them, I feel like I don’t exist. What should I do?
Here’s something sad but true: Some friendships come with an expiration date. You may be BFFs one year, and find you’ve grown apart the next. You’re not there yet, but it’s worth examining these friendships - and yourself - to figure out what’s right for you this year.
First, talk to your old friends. Maybe start with one or two BFFs, so the convo is less intimidating. Tell them how you’re feeling and what you’ve noticed, but most of all, make sure to listen. Your perception of past interactions may not be the same as theirs. Hear them out with an open mind and assume the best intentions. Maybe it’s just been a busy start to the year, and they’re super in-sync with their matching class schedules. Maybe they feel like you’re the one being distant. Point is, you’ll never know if you don’t put yourself out there and ask.
Second, consider that you might be adding more drama than is deserved. I mean, you’re independent, you can pull up a chair yourself! No one has to do it for you, but I understand the feeling of being left out or feeling unwanted. Take the drama away from the chairs or schedules, and focus on the conversations your friend group is having. Do they listen to you when you talk, or do they interrupt? Do they pay attention to what’s going on in your life? If you invited them all to a sleepover, would they be excited? If you’re still feeling excluded, it may be a sign that this just isn’t the right group for you right now.
Life is all about change. Seasons change, people change, friendships change. It can be super sad, but every ending means a new beginning. Remember what friends are really for: making you feel good and like you belong. Sometimes, these things work themselves out, and you’ll be back with your old crew after a long talk. Sometimes - and this is the hard one - it’s just time to move on, find a new friend group who shares your interests and really appreciates you, and walk your own unique path in life. Good luck!