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Outgrowing Friendships: When Is It OK To Let Go

Home / Relationship Issues  / Outgrowing Friendships: When Is It OK To Let Go
can you outgrow a friendship

Most young people have heard the term “BFF- Best Friends Forever”. It describes a commitment between friends that promises they’ll always be friends no matter what. And while this is a lovely sentiment, and there are some people who stay BFFs, the reality is that there will be times in your life when you no longer need to stay in a friendship. When this happens, it’s important to know when and how to let a friend go.

Five Signs You’ve Outgrown a Friendship

Some friendships begin at a young age, but time and life experience cause friends to drift apart. Other friendships may fracture when one person hurts the other to the point where they can’t move past. Regardless of the cause, being aware of the signs of a deteriorating friendship can help you move on. 

  1. You’re exhausted after spending time with them. After an evening together or a meet up for coffee, do you find yourself emotionally drained? Maybe they’ve spent the entire time venting about their problems, but never stopped to check on how you’re doing. Or maybe you’ve spent most of your time together biting your tongue instead of expressing your feelings. If you find yourself dreading spending time with a friend, that is a good indicator that is time to re-evaluate your relationship. 
  2. You no longer have anything in common. Many times in life friends outgrow each other simply because they are different phases of life. If you’re heading home early to get ready for work the next morning, but your friend is staying out until 2 am, you may find that your goals are no longer the same. Maybe you find that when you do spend time together, you have nothing to talk about. 
  3. The other person isn’t putting in any effort. Do they constantly forget to respond to your text messages? Are you the only one reaching out to make plans? If you find that you’re the only one making an effort, it could lead to feelings of resentment. 
  4. They don’t celebrate your successes. Do you have friends that seem happier when you have setbacks than when you have successes? That is a sure sign that it is time to move on from a friendship. Friends should lift each other up and celebrate one another’s accomplishments just as they would their own. 
  5. You’re not your best self with them. Throughout life, we learn and grow. But sometimes friendships, especially older ones, can cause us to regress. If you find yourself exhibiting unhealthy behaviors that you thought you had outgrown it may be time to move on. 

Three Tips for Moving On

  1. Acceptance. As difficult or painful as it can be to move on from a friendship, it is important to be realistic about your relationships. We only have so much time and energy in our day, and spending it on friendships that have run their course is exhausting and takes away from other positive and healthy relationships in our lives. 
  2. Focus on moving forward. Moving past old friendships may require sitting down with your friend and having an open and honest conversation. You can explain to them how they are having a negative impact on your emotional health. But once issues are addressed, if they’re not resolved, it’s time to move forward. Let yourself feel thankful for the positive part of the friendship and then place your energy into your other positive relationships. 
  3. Let Go. Letting go may be the most challenging part of moving on. You don’t have to feel guilty or place blame. Instead of dwelling on the hurts or the wrongdoings of the other person, remind yourself that you are creating space for the positive by letting go of the negative. 

Journey Home East for Young Adults

Journey Home East provides key supportive interventions in a home-like setting. We include various types of interventions including group, individual, and family support. As a transitional independent living program, we also help our residents work on independent living skills, develop positive peer and community relationships, help them with academic success, and provide exciting recreational activities.

Journey Home East helps provide the opportunity for greater freedoms and responsibilities entailed in pursuing further education or having a job. Residents are being supported in this process by our skilled staff. For more information please call (828) 408-0767.