Coming into my late thirties I’ve begun to realise that whilst I love my longtime friends I’ve begun to notice that I’m beginning to have different goals and likes in what I want out of my life. It got me thinking; do we outgrow our friends? I don’t mean by getting married- although that can sometimes be a reason, but by evolving as a person with our interests ever changing as we grow.
If you’re lucky enough you have grown up with a handful of friends that have lived their teens and most of their young adulthood with you. If you’re even luckier you’ve grown up with friends since kindergarten and if they haven’t moved away to another state or country, you have pretty much been in each other’s faces for most of your lives.
These friends have been there for you your whole life and you’ve done the same in return. They’re your people and you know you will be in each other’s lives forever. However, there comes a time where you feel like your people are not seeing eye to eye with you, whether it’s because you’ve gone on a different life path such as marriage, babies, career or just because your social lives are completely on a different page in terms of your type of scene. Outgrowing your friends is more common than we know.
Without an argument or disagreement, you find that you are now starting to find new people and places that are more inline with your views and wants than those you are super close to. And before you know it you’re making more time with a new social group and spending less time with your lifelong pals.
This doesn’t mean you don’t want your long time besties to be part of your life anymore – they always will be, you’ve been through too much with each other for that to happen.
Even though you know your friendship is still strong there’s this nagging feeling inside you that makes you feel like your letting them down, it’s a feeling of guilt that you’re out hanging out with an entire new group of people and your besties are not with you. In an opinion column for Essence, Dr Sherry says “ Often people stay in relationships and stay “stuck” because they feel obligated. Your relationship with your friend is similar to a marriage or any other committed relationship that has drifted apart. Usually, there is a sense of loyalty and guilt that prevents people from moving on with their lives. This guilt is definitely unfounded when nothing dramatic has occurred for people to grow apart. As you get older, your interests and your views on life change”. Don’t feel bad!
As humans we evolve and are constantly changing and adapting to our surrounding environment. Our ambitions and career paths diverge and we form new connections. Sometimes whilst we’ve grown with people, things change, and whilst there is a love and respect for those we have grown with we need to branch out and experience a different environment, one that is more in line with our interests and ambitions- interests and ambitions that have changed since you were in your 20’s.
Caitlin Flynn wrote “people’s interests and priorities often diverge wildly once we’re in our 20s and 30s — and as a result, some of our friends may no longer be a good fit. And it’s usually not because one of us did something unforgivable, but rather because we’ve simply changed.”
There are signs that you’ve grown out of this friendship, some signs include different tastes- you find that you may not have much in common anymore, they hold on to memories of your past and that’s what’s really holding your friendship together and they don’t celebrate your success.
Whilst theses signs don’t mean they don’t care about you it just means that your lives have gone on different paths and that’s part of the nature of evolution. We’re constantly changing and experiencing life differently. And that’s OK! You know that when push comes to shove you will still be able to rely on each other.