A letter writer distanced herself from her friendship group before she started college. Did she do the right thing?
Our elder weighs in.
I am in my second year of college but before starting college, I deleted my Facebook account (which was the only social media account I had) and distanced myself from all my friends. I did this because I wasn’t happy in my friendship groups and was already slowly drifting from the beginning. This is because I felt left out, unwanted, used and always the last choice. I also felt invisible during group outings and almost always regretted he group outings. There was one friend that I almost regretted leaving at the beginning because I was the closest to her than anyone else but I also had doubts because I felt that I was ruining her friendship with her other fried and decided to distant and explain myself to her. But after I finished school, I decided to fully distance myself and delete all contacts. She speaks to my twin brother and tells him that she is thinking of me at times and had my other friend mention me briefly. I do not regret my decision and have felt freer not having to deal with problems, question my self worth or where I stand in the friendship group. I want to ask, is this a good way to ‘end ‘ friendships? I don’t hate or dislike any of them but when I see them on the streets, I would prefer to keep my distance to avoid small talk and awkward conversation. I am able to focus on myself now, which I was not able to as I was my friend’s ‘therapist’ and always willing to help with their problems but is this a healthy approach?
College can be a fantastic new start in life. It certainly was for me. I hope that you are embracing college as a place where you can broaden your horizons, grow in confidence and make new friends. I commend you for deleting your Facebook account. It’s much better to build and maintain friendships in person. There is nothing like a face-to-face conversation, to build a connection. So many people are addicted to social media these days. I truly commend you for disconnecting.
I don’t see social media as a way to build friendships. People tend to be superficial and disingenuous on social media. You ask if closing your Facebook account is a good way to end friendships, but you put the word friendships in quotes. That tells me that the people on your Facebook account were not truly your friends. I think, however, that the one friend you felt close to deserves an explanation. Tell her that you made a decision to get off of Facebook and that you would still like to be friends with her in person. There are many valid reasons to get off of social media. One reason you could tell her and anyone else who asks is that you felt like Facebook was taking up too much of your time and that you have chosen to disconnect and focus on life in the real world. You could use college as your motivation.
In my personal experience, high school groups can be superficial and shallow. I never felt like I fit in, so I totally understand you wanting to leave high school relationships behind. In college, I made friends that have lasted a lifetime. College didn’t have the same groups or cliques as high school. Being more mature, I feel like we were more ourselves in college. It was during my college years that I gained the self-confidence to be myself and stop trying to fit in. It didn’t happen right away, but it did happen. I hope that is something that you find to be true as well. I hope you build lasting friendships with people who genuinely care and accept you for who you are. I wish you all the best.
Letter #: 431219