How to Deal When All of Your Friends Are Graduating High School Before You

When your friends are all graduating—but you're not—it can feel like they're leaving you behind.

Dealing with your emotions and how they'll change your relationships can put you in a tricky spot, but there are ways to cope. Here's how to navigate the situation with your feelings—and your friends—intact.

Understand You're Not Getting Left Behind on Purpose

Having all of your friends move on and graduate without you stinks, and no one will blame you for being upset about it. If you don't feel like everything is okay, you shouldn't have to pretend it is. Recognize what you're feeling and why, and if there are complicated feelings you're experiencing beyond abandonment, see if there's anything you can do to address them. By dealing with your emotions in a healthy way, you can then move on from them.

The important thing is not to focus that disappointment on the people who are leaving. They didn't choose to be older than you and graduate first, and they don't deserve the brunt of your anger or sadness. They don'want to leave you behind any more than you want them to leave. And don't forget that they're also going through a major transition in their lives and that they're likely feeling stressed and worried about moving on, too. You'll be in the same position before too long. Rather than adding extra guilt to their plates, try to encourage them and be happy for their accomplishment. Even if you have to fake enthusiasm, it'll be better for everyone involved.

Riverdale: Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead in blue graduation gowns

(Riverdale via The CW)


Keep in Touch Without Holding Them Back

First things first, make the very most of your last summer together before everyone moves on to their respective schools. Chances are, things will never again be exactly like they were in high school—but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's natural to be jealous of what your friends will be able to do without you, but that doesn't mean you won't continue to be part of their lives. Social media makes it easier than ever to keep in touch stay updated on what they're going, and chances are your friends will want to know what you're up to, also. Depending on how far they are, you may even be able to visit from time to time.

Still, it's important that you allow them to have their independence and build their own lives in college. If you don't give them any breathing space and insist they act just like they did in high school, you'll never allow them to grow, which means they may grow to resent you. Sometimes, you might grow apart from people despite your best efforts. That can't be helped, and friendships can't be forced. If the relationship was meant to last, it will.


Learn From Their Example

There's one major upside to graduating after all of your friends. Seeing them take the plunge first gives you a better idea of what you're in for in the future and gives you time to formulate your own plans. Maybe your friends will make mistakes that you'll now be able to avoid, or they'll experience something incredible that you know not to miss for the world. You don't have to follow their paths exactly, but the choices they make can help you make your own informed decisions later on. If you find yourself struggling around graduation or your own transition to college the following year, they might also be a great source of firsthand wisdom. Seeing their successes can also help you see the potential of your own life path, and the fact that you have a whole year left to get there gives you a major advantage.


(via Shutterstock)


Expand Your Horizons

It's no good living vicariously through your friends in college while your own life stagnates. While it's not ideal to be left on campus without most of your friends, their graduation is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and forge new relationships. If it's not easy for you to strike up conversations with new people in class, it might be the time to join a sports team or a school club and meet some like-minded people who enjoy the same things you do. You'll never replace the friends who graduated, but you can make some new ones who'll fit into your life in a brand new way. Having a good support system will also you to miss your old group of friends in a healthy and productive way.


(The Vampire Diaries via The CW)


Want to make the most of school? Click HERE for our high school graduation bucket list.