When Your Friends Are Leaving, Don’t Make the Same Mistakes I Did

June 7, 2022
Jonathan Mintz

Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America

Class of 2024

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It comes for all of us eventually. Eventually we will have to face the sad reality that our friends from elementary, middle, or high school may not be our friends forever. The thing about BBYO is that you only get four years here. You get four years to make as much or as little out of BBYO as you can, but I’m a rising Junior, and I’m not here to talk about that. However, you may not really get four years. I’m not talking about people who start late or leave early, though, I’m talking about what happens when you make friends who are older than you.

To really understand this story, however, we have to start way back before I knew what a BBYO was. We have to start a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Ok, fine. It wasn’t a long time ago, it was 2016, and it wasn’t in a galaxy far, far away, it was in Memphis Tennessee. But, in the summer of 2016, I would experience something that I had never even considered as a possibility before. One of my best friends moved from Memphis about four hundred and fifty miles southwest to Dallas. I was like ten at the time, so obviously, I had no way of contacting him. So, I didn’t. He moved, and that was it. We wouldn’t have any contact until the other night when I realized that if I searched his name on Instagram, he’d probably be there, and sure enough, he was! But at the time, that was it. He moved, we never saw each other again. Dunzo. Gone. Outta here. I couldn’t contact him in Memphis or in Dallas, so there was nothing I could do. No true last hoorah we could have, no promise to keep in touch via the phone or social media, nothing. It wasn’t really that big of a deal. I had plenty of friends left with me, sure it sucked to see him go, but in the end, it was fine.

I was right… for two years. In the summer of 2018, it happened again. This time, however, I could do something. I had the tools. I had gotten a phone, and I could, at the very least, go on one last hoorah before he left. I didn’t. We may have hung out a bit, but honestly, I don’t remember. The difference this time, though, was the distance. He was only moving to Little Rock, a two hour, one hundred and forty mile drive. My parents promised me I’d still see him often. They were lying. I still talked to him occasionally, and for a stretch we had a fairly consistent Minecraft realm going on, but it was nothing like before. Besides, I screwed up my chance to send him, or rather us, off in style.

Still, we saw each other occasionally. That would’ve stopped with the Pandemic regardless, but the nail was really in the coffin when he moved another three hundred and fifty miles north to St. Louis last summer, putting us at an insurmountable two hundred and eighty miles. What could have been visits every month or two melted into what could’ve been a visit every year or two, but instead melted into nothing. 

Finally, we make a stop at the Pandemic. It’s the elephant in the room. So many people lost friendships and even more to the Pandemic. In the grand scale of things, I was having a picnic. I know anybody that died, and I never got sick, but it wasn’t exactly fun. During the summer of 2020, my last great elementary school friend left. This may have been the worst of all. He moved five hundred and thirty five miles southeast to the distant land of Tallahassee, Florida. That was it. It all felt so fast. There was nothing I could do. During the Pandemic all I could do was sit around and watch the last titan of my childhood leave me. It broke me. It was different, I had the means and the knowledge to do something, to at least give him a proper sendoff, but I couldn’t. I was trapped inside of my house. There was nothing I could do.

The Pandemic took friendships without me realizing it, too. There were other people who I never saw on the other side for one reason or another (not death though, thankfully). There were also too many people who left for me to cover all of them here. I just don’t have time or the willpower to write about all of them.

Now, our journey reaches its final stop. After all of my friends left me, I made new friends. Then, they left me too. Now, the only ones left are in BBYO. They’re leaving too. This time it’s different. Not in anything that I’m doing, but in what they’re doing. This time, I’ve known exactly when it was going to happen from the moment I met them. They aren’t moving, they’re graduating. I don’t know what it is about this current rising college freshman class that just left us, but they seem to all be awesome. Be it camp or BBYO, they are some of the kindest, most inspiring people I know in a way that no other class is. And they’re leaving. It comes for all of us eventually. Doesn’t make it much easier, though. 

This time, I wasn’t going to waste it. I only have about two weeks left in my twenty six days of summer at home before camp starts, and I’m trying not to waste them. I'm trying to go to the pool, have movie marathons, or even just grab lunch. I’m determined not to waste the little time that I have left with my friends. Finally, I’ve learned.

We all have friends who are leaving this summer. It comes with the territory of joining BBYO. Don’t make the mistakes I did in years prior. Call your friends right now, ask them if they’re doing anything. Don’t waste the time you have left.

Jonathan is an Aleph from Okeon AZA #1204 of Delta Region #72 and loves sports, songwriting, and speedcubing.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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