How to Deal with Outgrowing Your Friends: The Signs

Your 20's are one of the most influential times of your life and who you choose to surround yourself with during these crucial years can really affect your behavior. I’m serious! We all have those people that we’ve been friends with for so long, we don’t know what life would be like without them, but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy for you. Sometimes you just outgrow a friendship; it’s not something you should feel bad about as it’s completely natural as you move through different phases in life. But before you have the “We can’t be friends anymore sorry not sorry” chat, see if you recognize any of these signs that you may have outgrown your friendship.

 

1. They’re only your friend through the good times. You know those friends you make during college that you call for a great time; they’re the ones you get drunk with although they’re not really the most reliable. As you get older, you’ll start to realize you want something more substantial in a friendship. Fading someone out in this situation, honestly will feel like a burden is being lifted.

 

2. You don’t have much to talk about anymore. If there’s awkward pauses when you do meet up or you find yourself trying to change the subject again and again to find some common ground, these may be signs your friendship isn’t really going anywhere, and that’s fine.

3. You have distinctly different viewpoints on major topics. In some cases, this is something that a friendship can definitely survive. Like maybe you don’t like the dress she chose for prom and you told her and she’s mad at you for that. Y’all can bounce back from something that minor. But if you have different political views (if she *gasp* likes Trump) or she thinks it’s okay to dress up as sexy Native American for Halloween (throwin shade at you Hilary Duff), there’s definitely a bigger issue there.

4. You no longer have much in common. It’s perfectly natural for friends to take different course in their lives, to develop different priorities and goals. I mean honestly it would be kinda weird if y’all just went down the exact same paths your whole life. Friendships can definitely survive this scenario, especially when you share common interests. But if you and your friends are just in totally different life phases and don’t really enjoy similar things, it could be that your friendship has run its course.

5. You look for excuses not to hang out with them. This may be subtle but it’s a subconscious sign that you don’t really enjoy hanging out with the person anymore. Trust me, you shouldn’t feel bad for not wanting to hang out with someone when doing so feels more like a burden than an exciting break from the stress of life. But also, you should realize, this isn’t really normal in a friendship and maybe it’s time you end this one.

6. They’ve wronged you. Whether it’s dating your ex or someone you’re interested in, spreading a rumor about you or doing something else nasty behind your back, it’s really a hard thing to come back from and try to reform your friendship because they broke your trust. I mean let’s just quit while we’re ahead with this one, amirite?

7. You’re leading very different lives. This certainly isn’t a reason to just go and dump your friend because maybe she’s doing something completely different from you in life. In fact, this could be really refreshing when you’re getting frustrated with your own life and you want a new perspective. But if, later in life, you’re settling down, married, thinking about kids and she’s still getting wasted every night, hooking up with strange men (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those lifestyles), you might be feeling like you’re just too far ahead of them and they’re pulling you down.

8. You don’t prioritize the friendship anymore and neither does she. When most of your conversations are over social media and you casually hint at “meeting up soon,” but neither of you really makes the effort to actually plan anything, you shouldn’t feel ashamed. You’re not being a bad friend but it is definitely a sign that you’re both feeling the rift, no matter how big or small, in your friendship.

9. You’ve formed new, stronger friendships. As you find yourself making new friends and forming those strong bonds with them, you may find yourself wishing your old buddy was more like your new pals. But changing someone to fit a mold to your convenience is A) impossible and B) downright rude. At this point, you just have to accept that the friendship may not be the right fit for you after all.

10. She seems to stay in the same place or make the same mistakes. When you’re constantly advising your friend on the same issue, it can be extremely frustrating when she comes back to you again and again. Like can you learn your lesson and move on already?! If they seem to be stuck in the same place, dealing with the same drama, it’s time to set them free before you wind up and slap them. Honestly I wouldn’t blame you...

11. You find yourself holding back in conversations. I hate feeling like I can’t tell my friends everything; I mean who are you supposed to angrily vent to if not them?! This is one I can really relate to because being somewhat of an introvert, I’ve really become a great listener and advice-giver. Some of my friends have started to take advantage of that and never give me the chance to talk about my life or my struggles. I mean do you really want to hang around someone like that? NO!

12. You don’t share personal details with them when you do actually get together. This kind relates to no. 11, but if you find that they don’t give you the opportunity to share or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing personal details with them, that’s not a true friendship anyway. Just like in a relationship, you want to be able to share your secrets with that person and feel like you’re not judged and like you can trust them. If you don’t feel you can share these intimate details, it’s time to let them go.

13. You find their behavior immature or just downright crazy. Maybe you two had some crazy nights doing who knows what and have somehow lived to tell the tales. But if you start to find your friends stories of wild evenings out to be repetitive and find yourself judging her for being immature, take a step back. I don’t care where you are in life, you should still want the best for your friend and that means having friends who won’t silently judge them for being what brings them happiness. I’m not trying to be rude but creating distance might be in both of your favors.

14. Nostalgia is the only thing holding your friendship together. One of my best friends from middle school and I will meet every now and then when we’re home for breaks and all we’ll have to talk about are our memories from all the years we went to the same school. While those memories always bring a smile to my face (because we got into so much trouble together in our teenage years), talking about the new things going on in our lives feels weird. Cherishing those memories, however, doesn’t mean that you stay attached for those wrong reasons; it’s better to let that friendship fizzle out than to allow yourselves to be bored in the present. Maybe in the future when your paths reunite, you can rekindle that friendship but for now, space makes sense.

If you feel some of these signs hitting close to home for you, you need to sit down and evaluate whether it’s a friendship worth salvaging or not. And if you recognize more than three of these signs in one single friendship, then Lord help you and props to you for hanging in there this long. If you don’t feel like the relationship’s worth it, that’s certainly not something you should beat yourself up about; it’s all part of growing up.

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