Can you remember who your best friend was in seventh grade? If you are having difficulty, it could be because relationships at that age are often short-lived. Half of them do not last a year. The friendships that do last can be predicted based on demographic and behavioral similarities.
There is a lot of change during middle school, and that change makes it hard to maintain friendships. As kids move from one academic track to another, join or leave sports teams, or take up new extracurricular hobbies, the opportunities to interact with friends wax and wane. Middle school is also a time when growing personal autonomy first allows children the chance to pick their friends and invest—or not—in those relationships.
A study conducted at Florida Atlantic University tracked 573 seventh-grade dyadic friendships until they ended or until 12th grade. Popularity, aggression and academic success emerged as important behavioral traits of friendships. The more similar two friends were in these traits, the longer a relationship lasted.
This quick turnover in middle school friendships is nothing to be worried about unless a child has trouble making friends. Adults who want to help those children might emphasize that finding peers who are similar in personality and academic interests are central to creating lasting relationships.