Best friends forever?

Teenagers should focus on solidifying their old and current friendships instead of constantly switching between friends in order to create long-lasting relationships.

Over the course of my life, I have observed the behaviors of adolescents around my age, and something that I have noticed is that we are all fickle as ever. Some of my closest companions from years ago pretend that they don’t know me as we walk through the school halls, and I always end up thinking, “Where did all the memories that we made together go?” 

The fact of the matter is that students are introduced to new, potential friends each year through alterations of school schedules, changes to one’s personality and the list goes on. Business Insider theorizes that an average of the five people we spend the most time with every day makes up who we are, but this set of five people perennially changes. 

According to Science Daily, young people between the ages of 10 and 16 demonstrate more fickle behavior, unlike other age groups. But, when this capricious behavior reflects in our personal, adolescent friendships and relationships, it can be greatly detrimental to the emotional relationships that we develop as adults. 

Firstly, the development and dropping of friends can result in emotional stoicism within an adult life. In Psychology Today, it is reported that adolescents who fall in and out of friendships often “develop ‘masks’ to fit in and hide their true feelings,” which results in unhealed emotional and social wounds that impact them as they enter the adult world. As adolescents make less of an effort to preserve friendships that they developed in the past, swiftly moving on from one friend to the next, it will likely minimize their ability to be vulnerable in front of other people, hindering them from creating deep and personal connections with new individuals.

In addition to preventing personal and deep connections in adulthood, the act of making and dropping friends often results in a social anxiety in adulthood that makes it difficult to even connect with new individuals. The National Library of Medicine states that close friendship strength in mid-adolescence predicts increases in self-worth and decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms by early adulthood, whereas a temporary affiliation with a social group is more likely to result in higher social anxiety by early adulthood. Essentially, the act of maintaining close friendships is found to be more beneficial than simply maintaining a social group that we occasionally affiliate with and occasionally don’t. 

However, I won’t discount the fact that making personal, lasting connections is not always an easy task for everyone. The opportunity of making good friends is often hard to come by, and such missed opportunities can also play a role in the frequent changing of friends. The perpetual changing of friends can also be attributed to current stress or trauma within an adolescent’s current life, hindering them from making the deep connections that they would like to. 

But, even thorough consideration of this matter leads me to believe that, in spite of such missed opportunities and present stressful situations, we should at least attempt to maintain close connections that we made in the past years. Often, such close connections tend to have the potential of being life-long, but only if we give them the chance. 

This is one reason why I dislike the word “distancing.” It feels like an excuse to throw away a perfectly sustainable relationship, just because they don’t “have space” in our lives. It is easier to break close relationships than it is to make them, so if we take the time to appreciate and value the current relationships that we have and prevent such “distancing” from occurring, this can build some life-long relationships and allow for healthy relationships to be made as adults. 

So the next time you see someone you know in the halls, acknowledge them and show that you remember them, for you never know if this friendship might someday be a lasting factor in your life.