If you read the title of this article and a certain friend just popped into your head, you already know that there’s a problem.
We all outgrow friendships at some point in our lives, regardless of how close we’ve been with someone in the past.
If you’re not sure if it’s a phase or the real thing, we’ve got some clear signs that you can run through.
It’s hard to realize this about someone you’ve cared a lot about, but you don’t need to feel guilty – and we’ll explain how and why…
1. You don’t miss them.
Maybe you’ve bailed on a couple of coffee dates or calls lately and you’ve realized you don’t really mind!
You might find that you don’t really miss this friend that much when you’ve not seen them for a while, or that you don’t make the effort to spend time with them.
If you no longer get excited to chat to them or think of calling them when you’re feeling lonely, you might have moved on from the friendship – and that’s okay!
2. They drain your energy.
Do you feel exhausted after spending time with them?
We all grow in different ways, at different rates, and it can be very tiring to pretend that growth hasn’t happened in order to still fit in with other people.
You might find that you’re drained of energy after seeing a certain friend – maybe because you’re trying so hard to shrink yourself back to the person they know you as.
This is totally normal, but not very healthy, and it’s something to consider as it’s probably a sign you’re outgrown this friendship.
3. They hold you back.
Some friends lift us up and push us forwards.
They want us to achieve our dreams and get excited on our behalf about new adventures we might be embarking on!
Other friends hold us back.
They might not mean to, but they make us feel like we’re not ready to try something new.
If you feel like one of your friends is holding you back and not being supportive of your decisions, it’s probably a sign that you’re not in the same place anymore and you’ve moved on from the friendship.
4. You make up reasons to avoid them.
If you’re starting to make excuses to avoid meeting up with a friend or deliberately missing their calls, you need to have a think about what’s actually happening.
It’s likely that you’ve moved on and just don’t want to admit it. You no longer want to speak with them as much and you’re not really interested in what they have to say.
5. You have nothing in common.
You might have bonded over something when you first became friends, but, if you’ve no longer got anything in common, it’s a sign that you’ve grown in different directions.
You may have developed new interests or started hanging out with different people who have different hobbies.
This is great, but it might also highlight how little you have in common with a friend anymore!
6. You disagree on a fundamental level.
If you realize that your opinions don’t match up at all, it’s a big red flag.
It’s easy to get close to someone and focus on what you have in common or how well you get on, which is why we rarely share our fundamental values early on.
If you’re getting to know a friend even more and realize that you don’t agree on some pretty core values (human rights and movements against racism, for example), you’re probably not well suited for a long-term friendship.
7. You’re always looking for new friends.
If you’ve started reaching out to other people more, and you’re making an effort to get to know new people, this friendship probably doesn’t mean as much to you anymore.
You might be craving a new kind of energy, or want to hang out with people who do the same kinds of things as you.
8. You wouldn’t be friends if you met now.
Now, this isn’t true for everyone, but it could be a sign that your friendship is no longer serving you.
Of course, a lot of us bond through our history together and it’s great to have friends who have been in your life for a long time and know all about you.
But, if you met today, would you want to hang out with them based on who you both are now – not just who you once were?
9. You’re holding a grudge.
Maybe there’s something you just can’t let go of, or there’s an argument you never fully resolved.
If there is something negative hanging over you both, it’s understandable that you feel ready to move on.
It’s sad, but there’s no point continuing a friendship if it hurts too much!
Sometimes, we just have to cut our losses, accept that things have changed, and move forwards.
10. It’s become one-sided.
It could be that only you put in the effort and you’ve grown tired of being the only one holding up the friendship.
It might be that they’re the ones always reaching out and you’ve been losing interest in the friendship for a while.
Either way, if things are becoming one-sided, it’s a sign that you’ve moved on from this friend – and it’s probably a good thing!
11. You find them negative.
Maybe you’ve started to realize just how much your friend complains – about everything!
You might have been supportive in the past and tried to help them see the positives, or you might have joined in with their ranting because you felt the same way they did.
Either way, if you’re now finding them very negative, you’ve grown up – and grown out of the friendship.
12. You only hang out in groups.
If you’ve stopped spending one-on-one time with your friend, it might be because you’ve noticed that being alone with them isn’t all that fun.
You might get on well in a group and have lots of mutual friends, but, if you can’t find conversation topics and hang out as a 2, think about what’s actually keeping you friends.
13. They want different things.
This isn’t to say that all of your friends need to be cookie-cutter versions of you and want the exact same things…
…but it helps to have a similar drive, outlook, and aim in life.
You might have realized that you want to travel the world, and they want to stay home.
Maybe you’re a career-focused person who’s climbing the ladder and they’re happy in the same job they’ve had for 10 years.
It’s not that either of you are ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the other; it’s just that your passions don’t really line up anymore – and your lifestyles have changed as a result.
How to move on – without feeling guilty!
So, you’ve read through our list of signs and you don’t know what to do next.
Maybe you’ve realized that you don’t get on as well anymore, or that your own values have changed and they’re no longer aligned with your friend’s values.
Either way, it’s time to move on from this friendship.
A lot of us feel quite guilty just thinking about ending a friendship, but it doesn’t need to be as difficult as we might imagine it to be.
Here’s how to outgrow a friendship without feeling guilty.
1. Remember that it’s natural.
We all grow and change in our own ways as we get older and have new experiences.
It’s totally normal for us to change who we spend time with and it’s not something to feel bad about.
Friendships are a two-way thing, so, by ending one, you’re not saying it’s 100% because of the other person – you’re accepting that you just don’t get on anymore and that that is due to you both changing.
We bond through shared experiences, and if those experiences are no longer there, the friendship is likely to fade as well.
Don’t feel bad about this – if you want to hang out with people who are into yoga and wellness, of course you’re going to outgrow the friends who you only ever got drunk with!
2. They may be feeling the same.
If you’ve realized you’ve outgrown a friendship, it’s worth considering how the other person feels too.
You might both be hanging onto it because you feel too guilty to end it!
Be honest about how you feel and they may surprise you by feeling the exact same way.
It’s hard to admit to how you feel about a friend, and nobody likes confrontation or feeling as though they’re going to upset someone they care about.
However, it’s important to be honest and upfront about how you feel – and it’ll hurt less in the long run too.
You might also be helping them realize how they really feel, and helping them address an issue they’ve also been struggling with.
If it’s clear to you that the friendship has run its course, they’re probably aware that something has changed as well.
By bringing it up and being honest, you’re doing both of you a favor.
3. It doesn’t invalidate what you shared.
The biggest step toward not feeling guilty is acknowledging that, just because your friendship ends, it doesn’t mean it never happened.
We get worried that ending something invalidates how meaningful it was and somehow erases the great memories we have with someone.
Don’t feel guilty for ending a friendship, because it was still lovely at the time.
It just isn’t right anymore – and that is normal and healthy, and much better for you both than dragging out what could become something quite toxic and upsetting.
Friendships are all about honesty – even when they’re ending.
Be honest about how you feel, without being insulting.
Be as gentle as you can, resolve anything that needs resolving, and then allow both of you to move on with your lives!
If they’re having a hard time with it, they do have other people to turn to for support, so don’t feel guilty about it.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you know how you truly feel – follow what your heart says and do what’s best for you both.
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