DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 20s and the only one in my circle of friends who's currently in college. They all want to hang out all the time, but most of them live more than 100 miles away. I have a strict school schedule, and I'm required to study and earn high grades or I will be let go from my university.
I don't like feeling like I'm being a jerk telling my friends I can't make it to certain events. How can I explain to them that I can't drive there every weekend to hang out? Sometimes I wonder if we're growing apart because they aren't doing the same things I'm doing. Is there something wrong with me because I'm still holding on? How can I explain to them that we can't be as close as we were? If you could help me figure out how to explain my situation without feeling guilty, it'd be great. -- BUSY IN CANADA
DEAR BUSY: There is nothing wrong with you. Relationships do not always stay static. Most of them ebb and flow as yours are, so please stop flogging yourself for making mature choices.
Being able to prioritize is a skill you should be proud of. You don't need to make any grand speeches to your old friends about why you see them less often. Just continue explaining that for now your education must take precedence over your social life because if it doesn't, you may not be able to earn your degree. If your old friends are really friends, they'll understand.
P.S. Look at the bright side. If you aren't spending chunks of your weekends driving back to your hometown, you will have more time to develop new friendships at school, some of which may last a lifetime.