How to Deal With Friendship Changes in College

Things change, people change, and things with people change.

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This post will show you how to navigate friendship changes in college, from falling out of touch to friendship breakups.

Friendship changes in college - Four girls having a picnic outside.

Starting college is a time for new experiences, more independence, and for most of us, new relationships and new relationship dynamics.

As any veteran college student can tell you, your friendships will evolve in different ways as you grow and change throughout college.

Your friendships from freshman year might become closer, or they may take the opposite turn — you may become more distant or the dynamics of the people you are with may change.

Friends may lose closeness in college for may reasons, whether it’s due to a heavier workload, mental health issues, a new relationship or even just growing apart.

How do you cope with all of that?

If you’ve noticed a changing friendship or just want to be prepared for when it happens, read on. This post will give you some tips on how to deal with friendship changes in college.

1. Evaluate the Relationship

Three girls hugging with a dog toy.

Throughout your time at college or anywhere you’ll have interactions with a plethora of different people. And obviously you’ll have different relationships with those different people.

Think of it like three circles inside each of other:

The outermost circle is all your acquaintances, people that you know on a superficial level. For example, you know their name or what their major is, maybe they live on your floor or you have a class together.

The inner circle after that are casual friends, friends that you may study with or even actually enjoy their company but you wouldn’t talk to about the real things in your life.

Then the innermost circle is for the people that you can share the details of your life with and who would be there for you in a heartbeat if you needed them.

Try to fit the people you know into each category and that way you can begin deciding how you want to keep relating to them from here on out.

Related Post: 5 Proven Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

2. Figure Out What Has Changed

A black and white picture of a girl sitting by a rain covered window.
Photo by Khoa Võ from Pexels

Maybe you don’t spend as much time together anymore, maybe one or both of you are going through a rough time, or maybe your friend is in a new relationship.

Try to figure out exactly what has changed and then discuss this with your friend and find out where you can make choices to improve the friendship, if that’s what you want to do.

In any relationship, communication with each other is key. Your friend may have some suggestions of their own.

Some ideas may include scheduling in time to hang out, starting a study group (if they’re in your classes) or opening up about what’s being troubling you (if you’re open to it).

3. Think About How You Feel

A girl leaning against a window.
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

In college, it’s common to feel left out if a friend is spending time with a new partner and less with you, or if they’re now taking part in more activities that don’t involve you.

If this is the case for you, don’t just push down your feelings about being left out, think about why you feel left out and talk about it with your friend.

Perhaps you worry that your friend will forget all about you with their new partner or that their group of friends from their new club has more in common with them than you do. These are valid feelings, and it’s important to acknowledge them.

The best thing to do is to get clear on these feelings and go from there. Your friend won’t know how you’re feeling unless you say something, after all.

Related Post: How to Tell if You’re in a One-Sided Friendship

4. Take Some Time For Yourself

A girl sitting down by a window reading.

You have to take care of yourself and be a good friend to yourself before you can be a good friend to anyone else.

So if you feel a friendship changing, be sure to take some alone time and really think about what you want in a friendship or life in general and how you can be the kind of friend that you would want for yourself.

There are so many ways to practice self care, so choose your favorite and be sure to schedule some time for it. It will help you immeasurably in all of your relationships.

5. Try a New Activity

A girl sitting on the floor playing guitar.

At first, this might not seem to have anything to do with changing friendships but just hear me out.

Trying something new is a good way to take your mind off of any insecurities you may have in your relationships, are is great way to meet new people or even better, a way to reconnect with a friend.

Whether you choose to try volunteering, learning an instrument, or taking an online class together or alone, a new activity is an opportunity for branching your horizons outside of a relationship or even strengthening one that you have already.

Related Post: 10 Friendship Dates to Try With Your Bestie

6. Learn to Accept What Comes

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Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

Change is a part of growing up and some of us are okay with change while others dread it.

Although breakups, especially friend breakups, can be extremely difficult, sometimes they’re inevitable or for the best. Some relationships, even if they don’t sour, may change over time or become different ones entirely.

All that matters is that you find a way to cope with the changes as they come and keep moving forward.

And even if you do end up losing a friend, grieve for that relationship then move on. As the old saying goes “there are plenty more fish in the sea”.

And that’s how to deal with friendship changes in college.

What do you think? Have any of your friendships in college changed? Let us know below in the comments.

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