Not all friends should be your friends forever
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they begin to realize that they’ve outgrown a relationship. I think I’ve just entered mine. I’ve moved around pretty frequently in my childhood, so most of my childhood friendships didn’t get the chance to expire. However, I’ve kept up with a few of my high school and college friends, that I am now questioning, “Are we even compatible anymore?” If you’ve found yourself questioning a friendship, here’s a list of signs you’ve outgrown it.
1. Your interactions feel draining or tense
Hanging out with your friends should be an enjoyable experience that you both look forward to. However, if you find that the interactions you have with a friend are constantly tense or leaves you feeling like you a ran ten thousand mile marathon, then it may be time to part ways. Constant unpleasant interactions with your friend will inevitably end with one if not both, of you, feeling hurt and may end with you avoiding them as much as possible.
2. You dread spending time with them
Most people want to hang out with their friends. So it shouldn’t be surprising that not wanting to spend time with them is a sign that you both should look for other people to hang out with. If every time your friends want to hang out you have a sinking feeling in your stomach and you just want to do anything to get out of it, it may be time to let this friendship go.
3. You feel like you need to pretend to be an old version of yourself
As you get older, it’s natural that certain aspects of your personality may change. If you and your friend aren’t on the same life path trajectory, then one of you may begin to act in a way that isn’t what the other expects. If you feel the need to pretend to be someone that you’re not, even if it’s someone that you used to be, it means that you are no longer as compatible with your old pal as you used to be.
4. One of you isn’t putting any effort into the friendship anymore
If you find yourself or a friend putting off answering text messages, phone calls, or constantly making up excuses to not make or cancel plans, it’s time to move on. A one-sided friendship can be draining to both of you. Not putting your fair share into a friendship is basically ghosting a friend halfway.
5. Your shared past is all you have in common
A friendship with nothing in common is like a house with no foundation. You can build a house that way, but don’t expect it to last for very long. Eventually, your friendship will just be filled with awkwardness at best and constant arguments at worse. For any type of relationship to work, things in common are required to make doing anything with them enjoyable.
6. You don’t have anything to talk about
This is usually a symptom of not having anything in common. In every relationship communication is key to its success. Having nothing to talk about will make you bored while spending time with your friend. If your conversations feel unnatural or strained what is motivating you all to continue this friendship? Eventually, your friendship will end because of the lack of substance in the relationship.
7. You’re in different phases in life
Sometimes friendships grow apart because you end up in different phases of life. Some people get married, have kids, move to a different area, or just get their career started up faster than others. Whatever it is, it’s just an inevitable part of life that you might not be syncing up with the phase that they are in.
We grow up in very regimented schooling. We know what classes we should be taking and what year we need to take them in. Everyone before us did the same thing. But after we’re done with school, that isn’t the case anymore. Our lives become less cookie-cutter, which can, in turn, make our experiences and what we find relatable completely different from what a friend finds relatable.
8. Your values are no longer the same or even conflict
The concept of “being equally yoked” is usually discussed for romantic relationships, however, it is also important for friendships too. Having different opinions doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be friends with a person. But sometimes it’s best not to compromise on your convictions, especially if it’s something that the both of you can’t ignore.
9. You support them more than they support you
Sometimes a friend is more interested in their life than yours. If you find yourself always listening to them and their issues, but they never seem to have time for yours, that’s a huge problem. Everyone needs some support every once in a while. Your friends should be a source of that support. And most of all, your friends should care about you and what is happening in your life. A sign that they don’t care is them not listening or not taking what you have to say seriously.
10. You hide certain aspects of your life from them
If you feel that you cannot share good news or a life decision with them, without them either becoming jealous or judgemental it’s time to let this friendship go. Friends should be supportive. While being supportive can include constructive criticism, persistent negativity can really mess with your emotional and mental health.
11. They always dismiss or ignore your ideas or advice
No one needs to take anyone’s advice, however, if your friend is facing the same problems repeatedly and they never even bother to try your advice after months, or years of struggling, it means that your friend doesn’t take you seriously. Maybe they have a good reason for why your advice doesn’t work for them, but your friend should at least tell you that they don’t think it would work for them. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to be supportive when it seems that they are continuously struggling with something you’ve already attempted to help them overcome.
No matter what stage you are at in your life, remember that you should never wait for permission to be yourself. Be who you are freely, and don’t feel obliged to stay in any relationship or situation that no longer serves you. A part of growing up is learning that the “friends forever” mentality doesn’t always serve us well. Friends may fade away, but the happy memories you’ve made with them will live in your heart and mind forever.