In the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some of my old friends from high school a few times, and these events have been some of the highlights of the year.

At school I had a close knit group of wonderful friends, many of them faithful Christians who encouraged and challenged me in my faith. Those young men and women were genuinely kind, funny and I loved learning and socialising with them.

School friends

Elisabeth Carter says that, in some ways, its those earliest friends, the people who have known you the longest, who know you the best. PICTURE: Bui Thanh Tam/Unsplash 

After school ended it was hard to keep in touch with everyone, as we all headed off to different universities. But whenever we catch up, we slip almost instantly back into old patterns, joking and laughing and teasing. I think the pace and obscure references of our conversations can be a little overwhelming to the spouses and partners who’ve been added to the group in the intervening years!

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity". I feel certain that these friends have listened to this verse and taken it seriously.

A few years ago, when I was going through a heartbreak, my girlfriends turned up at my house with ice-cream and a fun movie to hang out, talk and spend time with me. A few months later when I was feeling lonely at university, some of the guys baked me cookies and delivered them to my doorstep.

Some of my friends played in the band at my wedding, and I was honoured to return the favour singing at their wedding three years later. Another asked me to be her bridesmaid and then was one of mine six months later. 

Making new friends can be really fun, and it’s important that we’re always seeking to build new connections with the people God brings into our lives.  

But old friends – the people who’ve known you since the days of acne cream and breaking voices and school canteen queues – are so important too. 

In some ways, these people know me best. They’ve seen me at my worst, they’ve seen me doing ridiculous embarrassing things and they saw me grow from a gawky teen to a slightly less gawky adult. And they still love me! Being with them is easy and comfortable, which is refreshing in a time of life when making friends can be a challenge.

Plus when I reconnect with my old friends, I am reminded of who I was when I was a teenager. Some aspects of that time make me look back in slight shame but I also think that teen had a lot of things right: she was driven, funny, lighthearted and she’d already committed deeply to her faith. 

These days life is a lot more complicated and stressful than it was when I was a teenager – which makes sense! But when I see my old friends I am reminded of the optimistic, low-stress girl I used to be, and I want to be like that again.

Old friends can help us reconnect with parts of ourselves that we may have lost touch of, and remind us of aspects of ourselves we’d like to get reacquainted with.

Maybe you should get in touch with an old friend today?