Growing Apart From Friends

A few tips on coping with a friendship coming to an end...

Posted on 3 min read

It’s always sad when one of your friendships dies a slow and painful death, isn’t it? Losing friends in this way isn’t even really something we really talk about, or feel very prepared for.

Without getting too personal, I’ve felt for quite some time like a few of my friendships are hanging on by a thread. Basically, they’re now so one-sided that we wouldn’t still be friends if it weren’t for me chasing them. It’s like our friendships probably should have died a while ago, but I had to keep on reviving them, didn’t I? Doing so with these friendships now feels futile, it feels like it was a stupid thing to do, because I’ve now run out of energy and patience to carry on. Here are a few tips and observations I’ve picked up over the past few years:

Friendship is a two-way street

If it becomes a one-way street, if you’re putting in way more effort than the other friend, it’s not really a friendship anymore. If your texts persistently go ignored, if they only ever want to talk about themselves, if they make excuses not to see you, if they never really invite you out, if they always make promises they don’t keep, and it feels like you’re putting in more effort than they are, your friendship’s dying.

Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t blame yourself if a friendship goes tits up. It happens to all of us. We all lose touch with people as we grow up and our circumstances change. Yes, it’s a shame. Yes, it’s hurtful sometimes; but that’s life. Don’t blame yourself if you and your friend gradually grow apart, because it’s not worth beating yourself up over.

You deserve better than fair-weather friends

You know those friends that are only really there when everything’s going well? The ones that are never there when you need them, but when your life’s going well, they can actually be bothered with you? You deserve better. If they can’t be there to support you when you need them, they don’t deserve your friendship when you’re at your best. When you hit rock bottom, if they run a mile and are nowhere to be seen, they’re not real friends. Show them the door. Simple as.

Sometimes they’re oblivious

Don’t necessarily blame your friend either. They might not even notice that you’re growing apart. But as I said, you deserve better than a friend who rarely replies to your messages, who’d rather spend time with their new friends, who’d drop you for a guy at the drop of a hat, who isn’t there when you need them, and who doesn’t really fit the definition of a ‘friend’ anymore.

Hold your head up high and walk away

Don’t make the same mistakes that I have. Don’t waste years of time and energy waiting for them to realise how much they value as a friend, because they probably never will. It’s sad, it lowers your self-esteem a little when you lose a dear friend in this way, but it’s better in the long run to walk away with your dignity and pride intact than it is to fall out or to let them continue to use you.

In my experience, talking to them about it is only a short-term fix, as they start pulling away again pretty soon after. It’s better to cut your losses and move on.

Concentrate on the friends you have left

Concentrate on the good friends in your life; the ones who are consistently there, the ones who don’t ignore you, and the ones who never make you feel like a burden when things get tough. They’re your real friends, and they’re the friends that are worth bothering with.

As an aside, don’t ever hold on to fair-weather friends because you’re worried you’ll have few friends left otherwise. With friendships, it’s all about quality, not quantity.

How do you deal with a friendship turning sour?


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