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Does anyone else not have 'old' friends

(70 Posts)
pootleplumtrinket Sat 13-Feb-21 13:08:59

Just thinking about this over lockdown.

School wasn't a particularly happy place for me. I grew up in a fairly wealthy area where kids were put under a lot of pressure academically. I wasn't hugely academic.

I recall the kids being quite right wing and keen on the monarchy and the boys being horribly sexist and actually misogynistic. I wasn't bullied, in fact I was quite popular. But I never felt at ease and at 16 I went quite far away to do a-levels and didn't look back (it was pre Facebook and I'm not on any social networking sites anyway).

My parents keep me abreast of village news so I know where most of them ended up and that they are still all friends in the most part.

My DH thinks it's v questionable not to have kept in touch / have old friends.

Am I rare in this? Is it a problem? I just don't feel much affinity or warmth towards them although I obviously don't wish them any harm.

I am also intrigued to see that although most went off to Russell group unis (as did I) they don't seem to be doing much of note - which makes me wonder anew at all the grammar school pressure. Can't see now what it was in aid of, except maybe ensuring the 'right sort' of friends.

I clearly have too much time on my hands during lockdown!

OP’s posts: |
ByTheNine Sat 13-Feb-21 13:17:08

No, you're not unusual. Every time I've made a "move" - from school to sixth form to uni to first job then a new city - I've made new friends and just naturally lost touch with the old ones. I sometimes wonder what certain people are up to, but not enough to go the effort of staying in touch!

seensome Sat 13-Feb-21 13:21:01

Only stayed friends with one girl I met at college over 20 years ago, friends from school I haven't, friends come and go for me over the years, partly because I don't make all the effort and sometimes it's down to them. Circumstances change In life, moving, changing jobs, children all can cause an effect on friendships if they aren't strong enough to last. I just accepted that is the way for me and not that bothered, life goes on.

NerdyBird Sat 13-Feb-21 13:24:26

I'm not closely in touch with the people I went to school with, just via facebook really. I moved away for uni and never went back. I've friends from uni, jobs, etc.

nordica Sat 13-Feb-21 13:28:32

I'm not in touch with school friends apart from being Facebook friends with a handful. I moved abroad at 21 and kind of made a new life here (in the UK).

category12 Sat 13-Feb-21 13:38:46

Why would you stay "friends" with people you never had much in common with and weren't comfortable with? I don't really keep in touch with people from school, as it doesn't hold fond memories for me.

I find it a bit odd that he thinks it's "questionable"? In what sense? What does he mean by that?

pootleplumtrinket Sat 13-Feb-21 13:41:28

Well you all sound like me. That makes me feel better. My DH has only ended one friendship in his life and is in sporadic touch with everyone from his childhood. My thing is, I find friendships quite hard unless they are of the moment. I don't have much time what with FT work and kids, I'm quite close to my family. I have lots of current friendships and I'm quite open and real with them, so it's not as if I don't have meaningful friends. I just don't have old school friends.

OP’s posts: |
pootleplumtrinket Sat 13-Feb-21 13:44:25


Why would you stay "friends" with people you never had much in common with and weren't comfortable with? I don't really keep in touch with people from school, as it doesn't hold fond memories for me.

I find it a bit odd that he thinks it's "questionable"? In what sense? What does he mean by that?

He thinks there's some intrinsic value in knowing people who you have always known. He thinks it's reflective of your depth and authenticity. But I feel that I have changed, and that's ok. As you say, I had and have nothing in common with the people I went to school with and beyond some jolly reminiscing I can't see the point. He hasn't changed really. Also I think his friendships are superficial, just sport and chat.

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floranfauna Sat 13-Feb-21 14:06:43

I personally think your experience and opinion is actually far more normal than his! Some people are born, grow up, are educated and then go onto to live in the same area for the rest of their lives so far more likely to retain those original friendships. They're likely not exposed to many new ones. How is that more healthy than moving around, changing situations and meeting new people? Neither is 'better' than the other. You adapt to your own circumstances.

Trying hard not to sound sexist but I also think women's friendship circles are possibly likely to change more too simply due to the children factor!I have only kept in touch with two or three school and college friends and that is ONLY because Facebook exists! I have a few non-close friends I've known for 40 years (since childhood) and then I have my amazing friends that I've only met in adulthood whom I have so much more in common with as an adult. You husband needs to expand his mind, sorry! grin

brunetteonthebus Sat 13-Feb-21 14:08:36

I have old friends but we were discussing (on WhatsApp) the other day how were quite unusual as most of our other friends don't seem to.

Four women, in their mid thirties, three of whom have been friends since primary age and one since joining secondary at 11. No serious fallings out ever, aside from usual teenager bickering and the odd drunken squabble when we were very young adults. In non COVID times we see each other regularly, have been bridesmaids for each other and are godparents to each other's children. As young adults we had mad girls holidays together and now as 'proper' grown ups we still do weekends away. I love them, they're like my family. That's not to say we don't get on each other's nerves occasionally, we do, but it's more like having a minor gripe with your sister than being cross with a friend.

I also have other friends who I've gained over the years from work, other school mums, etc etc, as do they all. But they are my 'best' friends if that doesn't sound too childish. They really know me well. They're my people who I could call at 3am in an emergency if I needed them.

pootleplumtrinket Sat 13-Feb-21 14:18:05

@brunetteonthebus that sounds really lovely

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CoffeeRunner Sat 13-Feb-21 14:23:31

I have a friend I first met at pre-school aged 2 (44 years ago). We went all through school together, although we were in different classes & forms.

My other best friends are one I met on the first day of my YTS in 1991 (we had the same placement), and one I met in 2004 when our DS2’s started at Nursery together.

I have of course made other friends across the years, and friends do come & go. I don’t really fall out with people much but life changes & you drift. Apart from the first friend mentioned above, I’m not really in touch with anyone else from school unless you count FB.

shivermetimbers77 Sat 13-Feb-21 14:32:48

The great thing about friends is that you can choose them..unlike family, you’re not lumbered with them if you don’t like them! I am close with a few friends from school, and love how ‘lazy’ and relaxed we can be with each other. We are all busy with kids and work so if we aren’t in touch for a while it’s no big deal and we just pick up where we left off. However, I have also got very valued friends from other points in life, although I find those later friendships tend to need more effort to keep going than the older, more sibling-like friendships . My point though is that it’s up to you: if you don’t like your school friends then it’s not weird or abnormal not to stay in touch. You get to choose.

HideTanner Sat 13-Feb-21 14:35:55

I think it's great to have at least one friend in your life who would help you bury a body in the middle of the night, no questions asked. Doesn't matter at what point in your life you meet them though.

Just as you don't have to have met your significant other by the time you're 30.

AntiHop Sat 13-Feb-21 14:42:36

I don't think you need to worry op. My DH is the same as you. We're in our 40s, and he is not in touch with anyone from his childhood. He has a small group of friends he was at uni with.

I'm the opposite. I'm really good friends with people I went to school with. We don't live local to each other, and we make a real effort to stay in touch. We are on the same wavelength. I have not kept in touch with anyone from my undergraduate degree though, beyond Facebook.

Onsiesarethenewblack Sat 13-Feb-21 14:50:39

I think it can depend on your parents network too. My DH is in touch with his old school friends, he moved away but most of them stayed local to each other. While their friendships have changed, he still has that connection to people he went to primary school with. His parents made friends with their parents, got involved with school etc.

I grew up in an area where my family didn't have much in common with many people locally, my mum didn't make friends with many people and didn't do much to encourage friendships (eg we didn't have people over after school) I always felt a bit out of place at school and when I left my home town there wasn't anyone I was close enough to to keep in touch with.

Consequently my oldest friends are those that I made at uni, but as is common with uni friends we've all moved to different areas for jobs. So my oldest friends are people that I love, but in reality our friendships amount to keeping in touch via social media and (in non covid times) maybe visiting once a year or arranging the odd reunion. That makes me a bit sad but it's the practicalities of it, especially now that many of us have families.

I have been thinking in lockdown that I'm not very good at sustaining friendships but having moved around a lot for jobs over the years it didn't really make sense to me to try and keep friendships 'active' when we live in different parts of the country with no likelihood of living near each other again. Don't get me wrong, we're on good terms and if I'm ever going near someone's city il message them and see if they want to meet and we can have a great time as though we've never been away. But it wouldn't occur to me to phone them regularly in between, if that makes sense.

I do wish I was better a friendships though, and the earlier lockdowns did make me think I need to work at making some friends locally. It gets harder to make new friends as you get older, and I never quite got there with this last move!

Worriedhomemover Sat 13-Feb-21 14:52:53

I keep/ kept in touch two two old school friends. Unfortunately my best friend passed away a few years ago, but I could never match friendships made in childhood with friends now. They fall more into the family category.

I do have a close friend who I met about 5 years ago, but it’s not the same depth of friendship.

We are moving soon and I’d love to make more friends in my new village, so I’m going to make sure I make lots of effort especially with other Mums.

DH is the same as you, he was bullied at school though. sad I don’t think it’s unusual at all, i feel quite lucky more than anything.

the80sweregreat Sat 13-Feb-21 14:55:11

My oldest friend I've known 51 years. Second oldest friend is 35 years since we first became besties.
They are lovely people , but I have gone years without seeing them too in that time ( moved away etc) we like to meet up now and again.
I have acquaintances , but I don't class them as close friends really.
Dh lost touch with all his friends. They all stay in touch and known each other from infancy and I bet they are still really close now.
I found them quite hard to get to know , so Dh and I tend to have separate friends.
It takes effort to keep friends I think and one or two I've dropped over the years too!

EineReiseDurchDieZeit Sat 13-Feb-21 14:59:27

I suffer from this.

I was deeply unpopular at school, singled out for entrenched bullying, and never part of the crowd, I found my tribe later, but recently returned to my hometown and am not "part of an old days gang"

I do have 3 friends I've known since childhood, but 2 live away and due to my own circumstances, we have lost touch. The only childhood friend I really have performs a paid trade for me, and I doubt I would see them if they didn't.

It's shit OP thanks

category12 Sat 13-Feb-21 15:04:49

It's not shit when it's your own choice, tho?

firstimemamma Sat 13-Feb-21 15:04:50

I don't have any friends from school at all. Oldest friends are 2 uni friends - met them both in 2008 and good friends ever since. Most of my friends are mum friends.

EineReiseDurchDieZeit Sat 13-Feb-21 15:05:42

Interesting OP @pootleplumtrinket

I've just seen the end of your post

A massive emphasis was placed on academic success and university at my school, as the only path of value.

The most financially successful pupil in my class?

A little scumbag bully, who got no GCSE's and was told repeatedly he would not amount to anything due to his troublemaking and bad attitude. Now a millionaire.

The ones that were pushed?

Nowhere near as successful, because we became disillusioned by the "hallmarks of success" quite young.

AllMyPrettyOnes Sat 13-Feb-21 15:11:19

I've got one best friend that i've known since we were about three (mid twenties now) and that's it.

I'm not great socially, so tend to just drift when I move around (e.g school to sixth form to uni) and the friendships just die down. However, I had an awful time at school, so actively choose not to speak to people from there, as the memories are too painful and I don't want anyone from that past in my present.

Luckily, my best friend didn't go to the same secondary school, so I have no bad memories surrounding our friendship at all.

pootleplumtrinket Sat 13-Feb-21 15:11:36

@EineReiseDurchDieZeit isn't it interesting. I would say that my school friends were real 80s kids, very materialistic and v well off parents. There was a high premium put on 'winning' and every year we were ranked from top to bottom of class. I remember absolute meltdowns about underperforming or someone being given a grade on a project that other kids felt wasn't deserved. It was a bit grim really. But now, none of them are doing much. Maybe worn out with all the early pressure as you say. They all have kids now so I wonder if it's all repeating with the next generation....

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RightOnTheEdge Sat 13-Feb-21 15:13:41

I don't have any friends from childhood.
We moved around a lot when I was young. I had good friends at high school but I left at 17 and moved away to live by myself and worked full time so we didn't go through collage or uni together.

I worked in an industry where there is a lot of people who don't last long and there is a lot of moving around between jobs.
It's not a child friendly industry either there is a lot of partying and living on site.
When I had my first dc my mates were all like "Ooh we will have to meet up and come and see baby" but it didn't really happen it one of those jobs were it's your life and you live in a bubble but once your out, your out.

I have a group of really lovely friends now who I met when our dc were at nursery. I have an odd friend from high school and my old job on Facebook and we occasionally comment on each others posts but that it.

I do feel a bit envious sometimes of people who have close friends from childhood.

So your DH is basically questioning your depth and authenticity? How very rude and wankerish!

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