Managing Relationships in College

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Emilie Conners
A group of 8 college students sitting around a table on an outdoor patio.

One of the most unexpectedly challenging parts of college is managing relationships. In high school you were typically surrounded by the same people every day and had less of a choice when it came to the people you hung out with. In college, along with the increased freedom and sense of independence, you also get to make more decisions on who you spend your time with. Here are a few tips to help you get through all the highs and lows that come with relationships in college.

Surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you. It becomes increasingly difficult to manage relationships with people that are on completely different paths as you. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it becomes more challenging. I think we all rolled our eyes in high school when hearing our parents say, “you are who you hang out with!” but it really is true. Choose wisely and surround yourself with people that you want to be more like.

Know that not every person is meant to be in your life forever and that’s okay. It can be really hard to drift away from people that have had a big impact on you and that you pictured would always be there; but as life changes, we do too and that’s okay. With that being said, don’t be afraid to reach out to an old friend that you miss and check in! It’s never too late to reconnect and let someone know that you’re thinking of them. Chances are, they’ll be really happy to hear from you.

Make sure to balance your friendships in college; it can be really easy to become attached to a few people and spend relatively all of your time with them. I’m not saying it’s not okay to be really close with a few people but just remember to keep variety within your circle – especially at the beginning of your college years. Your fall-of-freshman-year-best friend may not be someone you hang with senior year (and that’s okay!) Aim to meet people from different clubs, organizations, and involvements you have on campus to avoid becoming dependent on one or two people.

Managing relationships throughout college comes with a lot of change; you may grow apart from some high school friends, and you will gain new friendships with people you’ll feel like you’ve known forever, even if it’s only been a few months or a couple of years.

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