Graduating college can be terrifying. Some might even say it's the beginning of "real" adulthood. One of the realities I came to face when I transitioned from college student to nine-to-fiver was that I was no longer surrounded by people close to my own age where ever I went. I was beginning to spend a majority of my time with my co-workers, and significantly less time with my closest friends.
In college, I was never truly alone. Unless you count the internal monologue of a lost undergrad, college students are almost always close to people. I took class with my friends, ate with my friends, partied with my friends and lived with my friends (seven of them to be exact). I was never worried about leaving my house in the morning and going through my day without seeing at least one friendly face.
No matter how prepared you might be for graduation and life after college, it's normal to be nervous about losing your college friends. Maybe you have a job lined up and are planning on moving into an apartment with your friends instead of moving back home so you're in denial that these friends will ever leave your side.
Maybe you think that even when they start getting married, moving out and having kids that you can still party on the weekends and contribute to your friends' group chat all day long. But part of growing up is having added responsibility and a lot less free time. Sooner or later, these friends will stop being readily available for you and you may start to drift away.
As someone who has already started the process of drifting away from college friends, here are some reasons why I think it's not the worst thing in the world:
You'll figure out who your real friends are.
It's a lot easier to maintain a small group of friends than to constantly accommodate a large group. When you start to enter the real world, you'll have less time to allot to your friends than you had during college. You'll have to make a decision about who you want to spend time with and actually put in effort to see them.
Your friends are not going to follow you to work or keep up with your weekend plans once life gets in the way. If you want to make plans, you'll have to actually schedule them ahead of time instead of hope that some bar crawl opportunity or social event falls into your lap.
Fraternity formals will turn into weddings, and then after that it's going to get increasingly hard to plan big get-togethers. When this happens, your life-long friends will become the ones who continually take the time out of their busy lives to see you.
It may not be often that you see them, and you may end up with significantly less friends than before. But, these friends are the real ones and worth keeping around.
The things you did in college are not going to be fun forever.
You should probably get used to surrounding yourself with your real friends because they are the ones who will be there when real life problems arise.
Most of your college friends are great to go out and have fun with, but those things are not going to be fun forever. Sooner or later, you'll go from needing a drink to just needing some "me time," away from the stress of family and work.
The stress of finding a hookup for the night will turn into stress of needing to provide for your family, and it can take a much bigger toll. As this starts to happen, you will want your friends to be people that understand you need emotional support and not people pressuring you to go out so that they can have a wing-man.
If your friends have only seen the "drunk" you, they probably expect you to act that way consistently. But when those things stop being fun, those friends stop being fun along with them.
You'll make new friends.
Drifting away from the people you surrounded yourself with in college means you'll have room in your life for new friends. As your life changes, you will encounter more people who are in similar places in their lives. You will need these people to feel like what ever you are going through in life is natural.
Maybe you are worried about moving in with your SO, so you need friends that are on the same page to give you advice. Maybe you want to join a yoga class, and are interested in spending more time with people who are living a healthy lifestyle. It's OK to make new friends because it means you are embracing new experiences.
You'll grow up.
Along with all these new life experiences will be countless opportunities to grow. In college, you have certain fears and self-doubts that go away as time goes on. You begin to get more comfortable with change and learn a lot more about yourself from becoming more independent.
Drifting away from people may imply that your college friends are still living with those fears and self-doubts that you outgrew. That means your friends are growing a lot less quickly than you are, and that is OK. But, some phases of your life are not meant to go past college, and you can't hold yourself back for these people.
Sticking with the same group of friends is not going to stop their lives -- or your life -- from happening. You may think you are avoiding the future by living in the past, but you are simply putting it off.
Inevitably, your college friends will start to embrace their new experiences and meet new people of their own. Make sure you start drifting away and allowing these changes to take place. You may be scared, but at least you won't be the one in your group of college friends who got left behind.