Make New Friends But Keep The Old

As we grow older and move through different phases of life, maintaining long-standing friendships while nurturing new ones can be a delicate dance. Human beings are inherently social creatures and friendship is a natural response to everyday experiences. In order to survive, we form alliances. These bonds enrich our lives, providing support, joy, and a sense of belonging. Our social circles expand and contract as we navigate new schools, careers, moves, and other life changes. Finding friendship in every aspect of life enriches your experiences. 

As a rising junior in college I know the importance of having different social circles. I’ve come to see the value in each and every one of my friends and make it a priority to honor these relationships. Growing up, I went to public school in Virginia, in 8th grade I switched to a private school in the neighboring state of Maryland. When I first made the switch I was anxious to make new friends but also missed the companionship and familiarity of the people I grew up with. It was difficult to make myself available to both of my friend groups. I often had to choose between doing an activity with my neighborhood friends and accepting invitations to hangout with my new friends. As a result of wanting to fit in my new environment I felt myself prioritizing my new friendships over the old. Over time, I drifted further apart from the friends I had grown up with. I don’t blame myself for this because I think this was inevitable for my situation, I was thirteen and trying to throw myself into a social scene of people from a different state, people who had also grown up together. I believe focusing more time on building these relationships was necessary. Obviously, I would be growing closer to the people I was seeing everyday as opposed to friends I only had the chance to see on certain weekends.

However, I also made sure to invite my friends from my neighborhood to any party I hosted or dinner event I planned. In return, my friends from Virginia continued to invite me to their plans. Although our lives grew more separate, we were always able to pick up where we left off. I tried to align my social circles when I could by introducing both of my friend groups and giving them opportunities to bond. Even as a high school senior, I invited the friends I had gone to middle school with to my graduation party. While I had not seen them in months at the time of the party, they still attended because we mutually appreciated each other’s efforts to continue the relationship. 

Now, in college, we keep up with each other’s lives through social media and attend the same nightlife events when we’re home for breaks. I have even been able to connect my friends from middle school with my friends from high school who were attending the same colleges. My neighbor and best friend growing up is now roommates with one of my best friends from highscool because I connected them. There is no limit to the number of friends you can have, and bringing people together can build community. 

Through this experience, I’ve learned that relationship bonds can ebb and flow. Just because I don’t consider my middle school friends my best friends anymore but I will always be grateful for the time when we were closer. A distance is not an end. Changing relationship dynamics isn’t necessarily a bad thing; sometimes, it is just situational. It’s important that you remain conscious and attentive to how your various relationships are everchanging. Be attentive to change and make adjustments accordingly. Live by the saying, “A circle is round. It has no end. That’s how long I want to be your friend.”

My friends from middle and I in 7th grade, May 2017
My friends from middle school and I at my graduation party, May 2022
My favorite place for frozen yogurt in the city! So many great dietary options, flavors, and locations. This is a must- visit when you’re craving a sweet treat!

Hogan Bingel is a rising junior at NYU who plans to graduate in May 2026 with degrees in Journalism and Politics and a minor in The Business of Entertainment, Media, Technology, and Fashion. She grew up in Arlington, VA, outside of Washington, DC. She is home for the Summer and will be studying abroad in Florence during Fall 2024. For the time being, you can find her writing poetry, listening to vinyls, and planning her next travels.

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