As we grow older, there comes the point where those who were once considered good friends no longer fit in the complex puzzle of our lives. The role they represent has shifted, or maybe we are no longer the same.
We are constantly growing and changing, so naturally, our social circles will also be evolving. This fluctuation is normal, and while it might feel painful, it can be positive since it shows our evolution over time.
One of the things I have learned as I get older is that we should not stay in friendships or relationships where the person hinders our growth. Learning to make myself priority number one has not been easy. But I should not feel guilt for ending a friendship if others are hurting me or we have outgrown each other.
It begins with letting go of toxic friendships. Some of the signs include making you feel anxious in an extremely negative way, or they might leave you psychologically drained. Their values no longer are in alignment with yours, which causes periods of arguments. These people could also be terrible influences. We are usually not aware of how bad it is until others bring it up. Flags start with other close friends or family members warning you about them—not a good sign.
It is important to come to terms with and reflect on the impact these people might have on your life. The same applies to a toxic romantic relationship. If your partner is controlling, overwhelming you, or hurting you physically or emotionally—and other people have noticed—it might be time to let them go.
On the flip side, there could be genuinely positive people in your life that you have simply outgrown, which is completely normal. It does not mean you are a bad person or that they are awful. The dynamic you had years ago is nonexistent, and you are now both at different stages in your lives. As much as you try to rekindle or relive the past, it is no longer the same.
Elements of change are:
1. One party does not communicate as much anymore.
This is a painful reality and the most common that happens. There could be personal reasons why this has occurred. But if there has not been any communication regarding the why it is usually a sign the friendship is ending. Especially if canceling on you or ignoring your messages has become a habit for over six months and even years.
2. There could be differences in ideologies.
You argue too much when you are together, and/or you just feel annoyed speaking to them. Political or religious disagreements can serve as catalysts for friendships ending.
3. No longer feeling comfortable discussing everything with them.
It is ok to feel this way. Sometimes one friend breaks the trust, and sometimes they do not. It could all be a matter of merely being at a different stage, and that level of trust is no longer existent. If you decide to end the friendship because of this, it’s understandable.
Some things are just not meant to last, and it is important to accept this. If you have outgrown a close friend, it is best to be honest and transparent with them (if possible). For romantic relationships, being true is essential. If the passionate spark and love are gone, you owe it to them to be truthful about your feelings. Be respectful and not cruel. They will appreciate your sincerity in the long run, even if it feels earth-shattering right now.
Spending more time with yourself is the aftermath of letting go of friends or romantic partners. Sadly, it is just part of getting older. Reconnecting with who you are, learning and evaluating your boundaries, your own sense of worth, and what you value becomes a priority. During these times of introspection, it is very important to be there for ourselves. To heal, not critique or hurt ourselves when times get tough. Loneliness might become our new friend.
Usually, the friendships we make at certain points in our lives mirror ourselves at a particular period. We can see some of the traits from our friends reflected in ourselves and our romantic partners. As we evolve, we begin to outgrow those traits that brought us together in the beginning. We each show the parts of ourselves we should heal, grow, and learn from or let go.
The selfish friend might teach us to be more generous. Our kind and charitable friend might guide us to be more compassionate and caring with others. An overachieving friend might motivate us to work harder. The narcissistic romantic partner will teach us to love ourselves a little more and to begin to prioritize and find our worth through our own journey.
We learn the good and the bad from the people in our lives. When those lessons are learned, we have the power to move on. One thing we should never do is forget the past or wish it were erased. Because those experiences, the people we met, and the shared time are all powerful memories that have helped us evolve into who we are now.
The wonderful thing about experiences and learning is that we can still change and become the best versions of ourselves. But the past serves as a great reminder of the lessons we have endured and how we should try our best not to repeat mistakes.
Outgrowing relationships is normal. A sign that we are growing and no longer staying stagnant in the same role. Everyone we meet in our lives has a special place in our hearts since they all shape who we eventually become. Hold the memories of those old connections dearly. Because most likely, you will be in their hearts as well, even if the ending of the relationship was not the best. The purpose is that you both learned and grew from the experience.
As we grow older, we find parts of ourselves in others. When those people no longer fit in the puzzle of our own little world, we should be able to think about the lessons they taught us in the long run. We are continuously transforming into better versions of ourselves.
Just remember as you go through your own journey that the past shaped who you are. So hold memories dearly. Do not try to forget those who were important to you—even if the relationship has merged with the past and is no longer part of your present.