From Our Readers
Updated December 18, 2014 9:14 am

I didn’t know that staying in touch with your high school friends wasn’t a normal thing until I went to college. My new friends were definitely still connected to people back home, but nowhere near the extent that I was. We had a Facebook thread that was updated constantly, not to mention a private YouTube page that we used to post video updates and dorm room tours to each other. I loved school, but I equally loved getting to come home for breaks and see my old friends. Now that I’m done with undergrad and living back in my home city along with many of those same friends, I’m eternally grateful for their overwhelming presence in my day-to-day life.

Here are just a few reasons why high school friends are the best.

All of the inside jokes

New people who come into your friend circle probably get the same feelings as someone watching a random episode of Arrested Development for the first time—like they’re missing something. All we have to do is say “rocking chair” to Noelle or “hope” to Lee to get everyone laughing. It’s quickly followed by “it’s a long story” to any confused bystanders.

There’s an extreme loyalty to tradition

You never have to argue about where to get brunch because you’re always just as happy going to the same diner you’ve been frequenting since you were sixteen. You can’t not have a potluck at X person’s house the night before Thanksgiving. You’re doing everything wrong if you don’t drink mimosas before this summer’s music festival. You can’t properly pregame without at least one game of Cards Against Humanity or Catchphrase. And you definitely can’t throw a party without hiding Smirnoff Ices everywhere.

Feeling like you’re part of each other’s families

Spending time with my friends’ parents in high school was so unavoidable that not meeting many of my best college friends’ families until graduation felt super weird to me.

Staking out your friend’s basement waiting to get a text about a party that usually never happened might have seemed like a boring last resort on a Saturday night when you were seventeen, but it also meant that you got to know your friends’ families in a way that made them feel like an extension of your own (this is especially true when you slept over so much that you had your own toothbrush in their medicine cabinet and knew way too much about their personal lives).

What this also meant, though, is that they got to know enough about you, including who you were dating, why they broke up with you, that time you got mono on your birthday, the great 100 freestyle you raced, the time you got their daughter’s relay disqualified, the scholarship you got from the school you didn’t love, the rejection you got from the university you’ve been dreaming about—basically all of your best and worst moments. When you get a birthday card or Halloween candy your freshman year or a surprise text from your friend’s mom on your graduation day or when they find out you’ve just gotten your first job offer and shower you with congratulations, you’ll feel loved beyond words.

Accepting each other as you change and grow

Together, you learn about each other’s first kisses. You hug one another in the hallway when that kiss doesn’t amount to anything. You hold each other’s hair back when you discover how not to drink on New Years Eve. You realize what it means to have someone truly be there for you when you experience your first death in the family and they stay up iChatting with you until you fall asleep.

You get your first summer jobs and open your first checking accounts. You apply to your first colleges. You celebrate the acceptances and mourn the disappointments. You’re proud of each other no matter what. You start to realize how far apart you’ll be and you spend the whole summer making promises to always be the same.

You get new friends and take harder classes and learn the difference between a one night stand and a real relationship. You gain or lose weight and start listening to obscure indie rock or develop a new obsession with Stanley Kubrick. One of you will get serious about a new sport and spend all of their time in the gym while another will spend weeknights glued to their favorite spot in the library, writing a thesis on feminism in modern day Latin America. Another will join a sorority and wake up at 9am to start chugging cheap beer in prep for game day.

You graduate and get jobs in politics, business consulting, social impact nonprofits, restaurants, and coffee shops. You live in cheap apartments and drink five dollar wine and keep Jimmy Johns on speed dial and depend on your parents’ health insurance for as long as you can. You watch endless hours of Netflix and wonder when you’ll figure it all out.

You come back home and fall right into the comfort of your old routine, realizing that you’re all figuring it out together.

They never let you forget all of your most embarrassing moments

Like those bangs you had sophomore year.

Becky Schultz lives, writes, and eats Chicago. She spends her days working at a distillery and updates her blog, Beside The Point, whenever she feels like it. You can catch her live-tweeting The Bachelor on Twitter.

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