It's a gradual process, this letting go of old friends. There are days when it hurts, and there are days when I don't feel anything about it all. My high school friends have drifted away over the years. I was never the easiest friend to have. I tended towards moodiness, and I liked to get my way. In fact, high school was probably the worst time to be friends with me. I'm much better at friendship now, most of the time.
After graduation, I was the one sending out the emails, harassing everyone to get together at Christmas, or to celebrate a birthday. When I got married and started yet another graduate program, I stopped sending out those emails, finally admitting to myself that I no longer wanted to be the one responsible for making sure my friends saw each other.
In June, I realized it had been almost a year since I talked to my high school best friend, and I tried to make plans to visit her. Her schedule didn't allow the visit, and I took this as the "she's just not that into you" moment. I'll still write on Facebook walls and attend weddings. I'll send Christmas cards. What I won't do is devote time and energy to planning coffee dates or potluck evenings that never happen.
When I stopped to really think about this, I realized that my life is full of friends who know me now, as the more mature person who doesn't always have to get my way (though it's still nice when I do). I have surrounded myself with people who don't share memories of me as a truly difficult person. Not that my high school friends demanded it, but I felt that I still needed to make amends for being annoying, petulant and needy and that I needed to prove I had changed. With others, who met me in college or beyond, I share happier memories. Letting go of old friends hurts, but no longer being constantly reminded of my awkward years has its gifts.