Life is all about growth. We are constantly looking to improve and become a better version of ourselves. We also expect change among people around us, but sometimes, one person’s growth is faster than the other and as time flies, you realise you are growing distant from some people. It might be your oldest friend, but it is possible that you both aren't the same people anymore and there’s distance between you two.
Your opinions, beliefs, and outlook toward life may be different or even contradictory. You may feel that you’re being held back, and it is okay. Wanting the best for yourself is always a good thing. It is not healthy to feel emotionally drained in the presence of friends we don't relate with anymore just for ‘old time’s sake’. Here are some signs to look out for to know you are outgrowing your friendship.
You only talk about the past
If nostalgia is the only thing that binds you together, and you spend hours talking about the good old days, it’s a sign. Revisiting past topics, behaviours, habits, actions, or thoughts with an old friend is a sign that you’ve outgrown the younger version of yourself. Recollecting those moments is not a bad thing, but it cannot be the only thing. You’re living in the now, and it’s time to talk about what you’re doing today. A simple way to know is by asking yourself—would I be friends with this person if I’d met them today?
You feel tired around them
Spending time being an old version of yourself with your friend can be exhausting because that’s who you. A tell-tale sign to know if you’ve outgrown the friendship is to ask yourself how you feel around them. Do you look forward to meeting them or are always making excuses and postponing it? Are you willing to meet this friend alone or do you meet them in a group so you can spend as little time as possible? If you are nodding to all of the above, then it is time to cut the umbilical cord. Friends should give us all the energy we need.
Also, remember it’s taken time and effort to make the current habits and behaviours a part of your life today, and if your friend can't accept you for who you are, it's time to let them go.
You don’t like who you are around them
If you’re in the wrong company, it’s easy to feel lonely even if you’ve got someone sitting right next to you. Having a friend that makes you unable to communicate your feelings is a major red flag. Without good communication, you can’t be close to your friend, no matter how good the ties were at one point.
It’s a one-sided friendship
You shouldn’t be the only one putting all the efforts—reaching out, making plans, etc.—into the friendship. Relationships and friendships are about having a balance and being equal with the other person. And if it’s not the case, it's not fair to you and may show how little the other person cares. If you feel obligated to meet them, it’s time to re-evaluate the friendship.
What to do next?
If you feel like you are outgrowing your friendship and don't resonate with the person anymore, it is best to talk things out and communicate how you both feel. You could also take a step back and maybe ask for some time out so you can focus on yourself and the other people in your life. Accept the fact that friendships aren’t to be forced. Instead of cutting off ties, you can engage with them less and reduce how much you reach out to them.
As people grow older and change their priorities, distancing from old friends is only natural. It’s doesn’t mean that you did or are doing things the wrong way, it’s a sign of growth, purpose, and direction.