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Outgrowing Friends: A Natural Part of Life

Having a solid group of mates is one of the greatest blessings in life. Aside from immediate family members and significant others, they are vital for surviving the tough times, enjoying the simplest moments, and preventing social isolation (even though this is unavailable right now). They are also the people whom you can comfortably share your problems with.

The best part of having friends is its voluntary nature. Everyone has a choice to befriend someone they like, or leave if the relationship if it’s getting toxic. Throughout the different stages of life, from looking forward to lunch-time at school to checking bikini line whitening products with your girlfriends – right up to playing bingo when you’re old and grey.  Everyone has met and kept friends along the way. But getting older, especially by the time you’ve entered the young adulthood stage, friendships change for both the better and worse.

What It Means to ‘Outgrow’ Friends

Picture this scenario: Sam and her high school friends have had an annual reunion ever since they left high school. Now that they are in their early 20’s, working or taking up advanced studies, they now have different responsibilities. However, Sam keeps cancelling because she has other matters to fulfill. She eventually stopped receiving invites because her answer has been one and the same and she’s fine with that. Sam’s situation is part of what it means to outgrow friends and at some point, everyone feels like Sam.

There are other factors as to why people outgrow their friends, but one thing’s for sure is that it starts with a choice. It’s important to keep in mind that if conversations with old friends are starting to be forced and repetitive, then perhaps it’s the right time to evaluate the relationship. Moreover, no one should remain to be friends with people who impede their personal growth.

Ohio University Professor William Rawlins shares that people’s expectations for friendship is “always in tension with the reality of their lives.” This is true because priorities change as people grow older and that means the people themselves change as well. Perhaps if the current environment of one’s life is not in sync with his or her old friends, it’s only natural to drift and meet new friends who are in the same place in life.

What Makes a Long-Lasting Friendship?

There are exceptions to outgrowing old friends. You can outgrow friends while maintaining the relationship. They are most likely the ‘real’ and true friends from your childhood or teens since they have maintained a strong connection over the years. These are the people who easily understand one  another the most. But maintaining a solid friendship with people who matter to another also requires dedication and communication. With everyone busy focusing on their own lives, efforts need to be exerted to time and emotions need to be reciprocated. This type of exchange is necessary for a  friendship to continue thriving.

You should never feel afraid and guilty to outgrow a friend, because he or she will meet new people or keep the trustworthy ones. Reaching the young adulthood stage is a testament to evaluating the friends made over the years. It’s the stage of self-reflection and heightening self-identity, which may mean weeding out people who no longer contribute to one’s personal development. Like Sam, outgrowing people is okay, and, to some extent, it is necessary.

Until next time ♡

☆ This is a collaborative post ☆