Many people have heard the “rumor” that the older you get the smaller your “true” friendship circles get. Well I am here to tell you that it’s a not a rumor, it’s just one of the things about adulting that few people are real about. When you think about it, during college and in your 20’s and early 30’s, most people date a variety of men and women, some who remain close friends and some who you would not go across the street to even say hi. Although friendships don’t usually have the same emotion as a romantic relationship—it is still very common to outgrow or grow apart from those whom you “grew up” with. And that’s perfectly ok. As you transition into adulting, priorities change, values change, and frankly YOU change. If you aren’t changing and evolving, then that’s the bigger problem.
Now I’m not recommending a big dramatic breakup with a longtime childhood friend, but what I am saying is that it’s ok to no longer feel like you have to force friendships that are no longer benefiting you. There will come a time when you will begin to reevaluate your relationships as life starts to get in the way. The tendency to prioritize your oldest friendships may seem logical and a no brainer but may not be for the best. Part of adulting is realizing when you are at the conclusion of a great friendship, appreciating the supporting roles you’ve played in each other’s lives and recognizing when it’s time to move on. There are also situations when demands and/or expectations may require a friendship siesta and you reconnect later with little effort.
If you ever start to feel stressed on how to balance a large friendship pool, take some time to evaluate what stage each of your friendships is in. For me, I have some friends from high school where months can go by without contact because our lives are very different. Yet, when we connect, no time is spent debating who contacted whom last, instead we just pick up where we left off and enjoy our time together. I have also had non-romantic male friends that I have been incredibly close with over the years—who then go on to get married, resulting in a change of our friendship dynamic or sometimes the conclusion of the friendship.
To break it down, most friendships usually fall into 4 categories:
-Friends you grew up with
-Friends you’ve made through forced togetherness (ie co-workers)
-Surface social friends
Your growth friends can also be in category 1 or 2. Most importantly they are the people you want (and can count on) to be by your side through life’s ups and downs. If you feel a friendship is one-sided or no longer adding value to your life, be honest and let that friend know. How do you break but with a friend, you ask? Keep it simple: sometimes gradual radio silence is the best way or just stating “‘I can’t be the friend that you want/need me to be right now” (I’m on the fence about if this is something you can send via text…)
Remember, just because you grew up with someone, does not mean you continue to grow with them.
I got a small circle, I’m not with different crews
We walk the same path, but got on different shoes
Live in the same building, but we got different views -Drake
Right Above It