High school is hard. While not being exactly like all those exaggerated teen movies, it's still difficult to navigate for all students internationally — in one way or another. It can be especially troubling when that lingering feeling settles your chest, and you know the people you hang out with at break times are not the right people for you. Sometimes you may start to question:
Why do they not laugh at my jokes as much? I'm really not as interested in [insert topic here] as so-and-so is, what else can we talk about?
It can be very difficult to face in the early stages of a friendship separation, significantly so if they're the only ones you hang out with at lunch.
Where to go next? Who could I join at such a late time? Why me?
Why you? You're growing up, discovering interests and passions, and it's totally normal to grow apart as people. I went through the exact same thing just over 2 years ago, and I'm here to share my experience, and aid you with advice to get you smoothly through that tough time, and how to remain on good terms with your old friendship group.
Feeling Like You're Different.
Even before high school, I struggled with maintaining thriving friendships which — at the time — terrified me into thinking I was a bad person. As I reflect onto these next few years into the future, I notice that they were not the right people for me. It seemed as if I'd had a blindfold on, preventing me from seeing the full picture in complete, vivid color. Particularly when I started high school amidst seas of people I'd never met, there was an overwhelming sense to join whichever group I could reach and cling onto them.
Everything was okay to begin with. However, as the years went on, arguments began to spark, separations started to happen within the group, and the conversations became overloaded with a topic that I knew nothing about, nor could I encourage myself to learn about it. The girl I was closest to for a year suddenly disappeared, and I came to the realization that, in my rush to belong, I'd forgotten to look for the right people. Things were smooth-sailing for long enough, but as it submerged under the surface, the pressure flooded in.
I was suddenly in the same position again. No best friend, no group to hang out with at break or in classes, and the sinking feeling I was different. That I wasn't good enough to have a best friend because I hadn't sustained a happy friendship like in all those movies.
How Do I Break Things Off?
For one, always remember communication is essential — for almost all situations. People, in general, will accept and/or acknowledge your feelings, and if approached in a calm, kind manner, the chances are increased even more for a relaxed and easy outcome. Sometimes, if things are tough and tensions are bubbling up, it's best to slowly move away. Start talking to new people in class! I know you and that person will have at least one thing in common — your school! When I was in this situation, I often brought up assignments of common subjects at the time like maths, English and science. I found people always had something to say, and this can spark other conversations about interests etc.
In regard to that previous friend group of yours, I think it's best to remain courteous. Even if you realized they were horrible influences upon you, or back-stabbed, it helps your mental health and confidence to give them a wave in the halls or nod in their direction. That prevents some bridges from being burnt, and also makes your daily life at school less stressful. There is hardly any wiggle room for rumor-spreading or traction to sneak in.
The Best Ways To Spark A New Friendship!
Kindness Is Key.
If you haven't found others already, a huge weight is laid and shoved onto your shoulders.
What will I do in class for partnerships? Where do I sit at lunchtimes to be invisible? What will people think if I'm all alone?
For me, class was always the best way to meet new people. In all honesty, I met my best friend through another girl I shared a class with; you truly never know who you will meet. Stick to your gut, be kind, and reach out. It may seem gloomy and overwhelming out there, but there are so many great people out there, and if things don't work out: hey, at least you tried!
Join New Groups, Extracurricular Or Sports.
The second tip I have for you is to try new things. While you may wonder how this has any correlation with changing friend groups in school, it truly can help if you're shy or afraid of judgment by waltzing into a group — though, if there is judgment, perhaps they're not the best people to hang out with.
For me, I joined a school football team to take up some time and get some exercise, and I made some really great friendships! You could even go to the library, spark up some conversations with others in your year level, ask for help or if you can join their study group. This will not only boost your relationship with them but also aids in keeping up your school work. There is also a very high chance that these people will have similar interests, and connect to you on a personal level.
Reach Out To Others On Social Media.
There is no denying that social media has become integrated in everyday life — it continues to connect so many people, and while I would not always recommend hiding behind a screen, this could be an easy spot for a first move. For example, say someone has shared a post on their story of a recipe, fan-art or something informative. You can reply to that with your own personal thoughts, or add something onto what they've shared. Start talking and sending memes, or things that revolve around whatever you first spoke about. In most friendships, all is built on top of that.
Also, always remember, that it can take time, and the first people you meet may not be the ones you click with.
It can be so easy in today's society to feel different or out of place — and trust me, so many have been there before and will be there after you. That doesn't make it any easier, but there are some simple ways to reach out to others and find a new group to hang out with. It is hard to leave a group you thought would be your 'best friends forever,' but sometimes, it's best to accept what is temporary and always share the positive memories. Remember you aren't alone, and there are so many people to meet, not just in school, but afterwards! Chin up, don't let your crown fall.