I realized that I did not know the majority of my close friends before the age of 18. I keep in touch with a few people who I knew at age 14, but I really only see one friend who knew more before I was 14 (and even then I only see him maybe once a year.)
How you make friends after college is different because the range of your friends becomes much, much broader. When you’re in high school, your friends are mainly those in your grade. If you have a friend that’s a year older, you probably feel really cool about it. (Since I went to an extremely small high school, I may be exaggerating the meaning of it. I was friends with people from many different ages.)
Actually, I really enjoy how my relationships have transformed since high school. I was close with a handful of teachers. I’ve stayed in touch with a few of them, but I’ve had to explain to other people, “Oh they are a high school teacher of mine.” But it was a little different at Conserve. We didn’t call people Mr. or Mrs., we used first names for basically everyone. (Which, looking back at it, may have been kind of revolutionary at the time.)
I stayed in touch with one teacher, Paul. And funnily enough, I happened to live in places where he had connections. I studied abroad in South Africa and stayed with his sister when she was living in Pretoria and I was travelling around the country. I moved to Maryland after college and his brother lived about 20 minutes away from me. And then I moved to Boston, where his other brother lived just outside of the city.
At first, I’d explain to people that I was staying with my former teacher’s sibling’s house or visiting them for dinner. But then I got kind of sick of saying that, so I just said a friend’s house. The joke is that I’ve become a member of the family. (It’s a cool family, so I’ll take it as a compliment.)
But then I have another friend who I met in high school that I don’t talk to much anymore. We were pretty close in high school and bonded over numerous things. We talked every so often in college and I was in his wedding. But the last time I saw him, it just felt different. I don’t know if our interests or our life experiences just diverged, but it didn’t feel like it did in high school. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad or a good thing.
I have another friend who I met after college. We were fairly close when I lived in Maryland, but we don’t see each other much anymore. However, I always enjoy talking with him. We seem to be able to pick a string from an issue and just go with it. We may as well have been hanging out last week. And whenever I shoot an email over, he’ll send one right back with a good, quality response.