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Outgrowing Friendships: Why You Should Embrace Change

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

As I found myself about to post a happy birthday message on an old friend’s Facebook timeline a few days ago, I thought to myself, “How did I reach this point?” Growing up, my parents and other adults around me would tell stories about their childhood and younger years. These tales would be full of enchanting and wonderful moments experienced alongside incredible individuals. Listening to these stories would always make me particularly sad, as I struggled to grasp how these people, who were once so intricately involved with each other, were now distant memories from another lifetime. I distinctly recall thinking to myself how that would never happen with my friends; assuring myself that my friendships would defy this fate because they were special, stronger, and there couldn’t possibly be a way for us to end up as just old Facebook friends who exchange happy birthday messages once a year. Yet, as I navigate my third year of college, I find myself having lost touch with nearly every high school friend. 

The Realization

Those who not so long ago were an integral part of my daily life, now exist as passing acquaintances I run into at the supermarket or pharmacy and have awkward small talk with. I’ll admit, coming to terms with the reality that what I was sure would never happen to me, was indeed happening, has proven to be one of the most challenging things for me to endure. I found myself genuinely and wholeheartedly grieving these friendships. I’ve grappled with the “how” and the “why” of it all, battling feelings of self-doubt and insecurity that started to arise in the attempt to justify this gradual detachment. Blaming myself and convincing myself that I was the source of this shift somehow seemed easier than accepting that these friendships just didn’t fit into my life the way they used to. The fact of the matter is, everybody grows and matures, it is an inevitable process, and this process of finding out who you are or who you want to be comes with many changes. One of those being the realization that the ties that once bound us and gave birth to laughter and a sense of belonging-such as shared school experiences, class gossip, and lunchtime complaints-are no longer shared, and that’s okay. 

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Embracing Change

As we mature, our perspectives expand, and our aspirations evolve, prompting us to seek new avenues and forge new connections. Although outgrowing my friendships, or more so, embracing and acknowledging this idea, took a heavy toll on me, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. That’s not to say that I’m ungrateful or have any resentment toward these connections, quite the opposite; I hold deep gratitude and profound affection for these old friends. Each of them has contributed, some more beautifully than others, in shaping the person I am today, which is why I will forever keep them near and dear to my heart, and it will eventually be my turn to recount the wonderful moments lived with these people to my own children. 

 It Will Be Okay

What I’m attempting to convey is that the process of outgrowing and evolving beyond friendships doesn’t have to be a painful or heartbreaking one, and it most definitely does not signify that there’s something wrong with you. Instead, it serves as a sign of growth, a process that is necessary to your transition into adulthood and entering a new phase in your life. Realizing that these once close connections have shifted isn’t a sad goodbye to the past; it’s understanding that you’ve grown and are ready for new things. It is an opportunity to embrace new connections and experiences. So, dear reader, I encourage you to enjoy each chapter in your life as it unfolds, but don’t get stuck on the past, rather, welcome the new things that come your way and remember the old ones with joy and gratitude. 

Ariana Gonzalez is a contributor to the Her Campus at UPR chapter online magazine. She is a writer who enjoys covering an array of topics, specially lifestyle and experience topics, as well as anything that pertains to wellness. Aside from Her Campus, she publishes poetry on her social media platforms, and is always lending a helping hand to her peers when it comes to writing assignments. She has worked as an English tutor to elementary school kids, teaching them, among other things, how to read and write. Additionally, Ariana has worked in customer service, where she developed the ability to communicate effectively, and connect with other people and their perspectives. She is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Her countless diaries documenting experiences and feelings are the ancestors of her current work, through which she strives to inspire others to see the beauty in transforming thoughts into words. When she's not engrossed in true crime documentaries, she's probably taking on her daily dose of mental gymnastics by completing Sudoku puzzles. Ariana also enjoys baking from time to time, and sharing her delicious creations with her family and friends.