Although losing friends after matric isn’t uncommon, it’s a painful experience to go through. Thankfully, there are some ways to cope with the loss. Here are a few.

Acknowledge your feelings

Losing a friend can be very painful, and that’s ok. You can journal your feelings, or even write a letter to your friend expressing how you feel. For more information on friendship break-ups and how to handle them, read this article.

Create a scrapbook

Creating a scrapbook with all of your fun memories with your high school friends can be a great way to enjoy those memories, while moving on at the same time. You can print out some of your favourite photos, stick down any notes, letters and other keepsakes you have.

Learn the lessons

Sometimes, friends drift apart after high school naturally- no fights or drama, you just don’t have that much in common anymore. But other times, you may have experienced a toxic friendship that ended in chaos. Whatever your experience was, there’s definitely a lesson or two that you can learn from it. You may even reflect on what’s happened and realise that you had some toxic traits yourself. The past is gone, and there’s no need to regret the things you did when you were younger, but taking those lessons into your future will ensure that you make better choices, and develop better friendships in varsity and beyond.

Bury the hatchet

Forgiving and forgetting is easier said than done, but it’s an important part of moving on. Of course, if your friend did something very hurtful to you, you’re not required to forgive them if you’re not ready to. If it was more of a mutual thing, and you can see where they were coming from, you can acknowledge that it happened and choose to continue on in life with no hard feelings. You can even chat to the person about it if you feel comfortable - sometimes, getting those feelings off your chest can be relieving and healing.

Make new friends

Now that you’re out of high school, a big part of your life may feel like it’s over, but on the other hand, a new chapter is just beginning and that means more chances to make new friends. Unlike in high school where you were seeing the same people every day, you’ll be exposed to more people at tertiary level. This can make it a bit more challenging and intimidating to make new friends, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and sign up for an activity or two outside of your daily duties, to meet people. You may also find that your circle is a bit smaller, which is completely normal. As long as you’re surrounding yourself with supportive, genuine people, you’re good.

Not all friendships last forever, but every experience can teach us a valuable lesson about ourselves. Take all the time you need to grieve what’s gone, but don’t forget that life goes on and that they’re amazing friends out there you’re yet to meet.

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