Who saw How I Met Your Mother this week? It was a veritable BFF gold mine. First, there was the Lily-Robin storyline, about the very motherhood-and-friendship conundrum we discussed last week. Then there was a side plot about Ted and his best friend from high school, who comes to visit New York from his hometown of Cleveland.
The Ted-and-Punchy storyline struck me for two reasons:
1) Marshall’s claim that they weren’t friends because, he says, nobody stays friends with kids from high school.
2) Ted and Punchy each have a completely skewed view of the other one’s adult life.
Let’s take this point-by-point. I know many people don’t keep in touch with high school friends after graduation. It’s largely an issue of someone wanting to put her teenage days behind her, but even more so a byproduct of friends growing up and figuring out who they really are. Sometimes the adult versions of two high school pals just aren’t compatible.
I’m actually still incredibly close with my high school friends. Eight of my former classmates were at my wedding. My husband’s best friends are almost all from his high school days. His little gang still takes a boys’ trip together every year.
I don’t know what it is exactly—maybe the fact that we went through those awkward hormonal years together, maybe just having been friends for so long—but my high school friends understand me in a way not everyone does, even if I go months at a time without seeing them.
When I posted about my high school reunion earlier this summer, plenty of you commented that you would never go back. But for me? It was a highlight.
Which brings me to point two. When Punchy came to visit Manhattan, he drove Ted crazy. His hyped-up high-school self didn’t work in the big city. But as we later learned, Punchy thought it was Ted who was struggling. He was trying to cheer up his old buddy using the juvenile jokes that first made them friends.
It was interesting how each thought the other was having a rough time. Ted saw Punchy as being stuck at home and going nowhere, while Punchy saw Ted as being miles away from friends and family and the people he loves. From each perspective, the other was in a bad spot.
We do that with friends a lot. We project however we’d feel in their situation onto them, whereas they might see their life from an entirely different viewpoint.
This might be more likely to happen with a high school friend, because we think we know how her mind works when in fact so much could have changed between then and now.
Are you still friends with your high school gang? What do you think it is that works—or doesn’t—about teenage friendships once we’re all grown up?
And in case you missed it, enjoy a little taste of HIMYM’s “The Beaver Song,” Robin Sparkles’s totally innocent ode to friendship.
6 responses to “How I Met Your BFF”
I still consider my high school friends my closest friends. But that’s also because they aren’t just my high school friends. In most cases I’ve actually been friends with these people since middle school and in one case since we were 6 years old, which means I’ve been friends with her for over 20 years.
I think it works because we’ve all known each other the longest. There’s something to knowing there’s still a person in your life who was there when your parents divorced, when your dad had a heart attack, or your mom died. We have decades worth of blackmail in bad photos, embarrassing stories, mistake boyfriends. We’ve been there through the biggest, smallest, greatest, and worst events in our lives and that’s not something anyone we met in college or after can say.
We make it a point to get together at least once a year around Christmas since we all live in different places now. We try to go on trips once a year. We exchange emails and chat on Facebook. I know that even when we aren’t talking regularly we’re still friends. We may not know the day to day minutia of our lives anymore but we’re still friends because we work at it.
My husbands best friends are all from his childhood / high school days. He still lives near where he grew up. I have no close friends from high school, but I relocated right after graduation. I am a bit jealous that my husband has friends that go so far back, and I wish I could say the same.
Nope. I was brought up a Jehovah’s Witness, so I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my favorite classmates (the “unbelievers”) outside of school, therefore not really being able to have deep connections with them….
I could only hang out with other JW’s, but all the ones I knew, I didn’t like.
By the time I became 17 going on 18 and could hang out with anyone I wanted to, bonding was too late; many left the city or state to go off to college, or just move away….So yet another reason why I don’t have the life-long friends that other people have.
BTW, if you haven’t done so already, check out the non-fiction book: “The Girls from Ames”, which is an incredible story of a life-long BFF bond of a group of women since school age (the “girls” are now pushing 50). The best book I have ever read on this topic!
I love my high school friends and still keep in touch with 4 of them pretty regularly. We always seem to pick up where we left off despite all the time that has passed. These relationships are meaningful and don’t require work to maintain – they naturally flourish.
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