I remember once someone saying to me "you make friends with anyone." At the time I thought it was a compliment. I am pretty sure that the person who said it to me didn't mean it in a positive way at all. And although at one time, I thought it was a good thing to be able to make friends with everybody, I have now grown to understand what that particular person was getting at. It is okay to be friendly with people but not everyone should be your friend.
I have had all kinds of friends; bad ones, good ones, ones who act like parents, frenemies, and true besties. And the biggest thing I have learned is that friendship is sacred. A good friend can light up your world and a bad one can cause so much chaos that you start to question your true self. So having the ability to determine if someone is of value in your life is extremely important.
Out growing your friends is hard. Often it is a huge internal battle. Sometimes you are reminded of all the good moments you have shared with that person and other times all you want to do is abruptly end the friendship. It is the times where you relive the moments they talked you through a sad experience or celebrated something special in your life that keep you holding on. It is especially difficult when you have known someone for several years. You wrestle with your feelings of not wanting to throw away all the time spent with understanding that maybe the friendship is no longer serving you.
The quote "there is a reason, a season, or a lifetime" for somebody who comes into your life is the best way to explain the complexities of relationships. As much as it is hard to accept, it is true. What is even more true is that you often don't know which one someone is going to be in your life until the end. As you sit there questioning if your friend should still be in your life, that gnawing doubt is probably a indicator that it is time to move on. So how do you know if you are out growing your friends and what should you do about it?
How to Know It's Time
1. They make you feel bad about yourself. No one and I mean no one should ever make you feel bad for being who you are. If someone can not love you for who you are, it's probably a sign to move on.
2. They're extremely negative. Negative thinking is like a virus. It can pass to other people who have been exposed to it, whether they are aware or not. The last thing you want is someone who is always pushing negative thoughts onto your life. If you are trying to become better, or build a business a negative person becomes a liability.
3. All the drama you have in your life is created by them. If you find yourself dealing in someone else's drama, get out and get out now. Life is too short. (ps We all go through stuff which is normal, but someone who is in a habit of going through stuff is only going to bring you with them. There are ways to support your friends without being involved in drama.)
4. They ask you to do stuff that makes you uncomfortable. These are the drug, sex, and alcohol pushers. A true friend respects you and the boundaries you put on your life. It's that simple.
5. They drain you financially. There were several and I mean several times I had no money for dinners and friends would be kind enough to pay for me. But I always tried to find a way to pay them back. If you are always bailing a friend out it's a sign that the relationship is not equal. Eventually everyone gets tired of situations that are not fair.
6. You stop telling them personal information. This is a huge sign that you either no longer trust them, the relationship is all about them, or they have negative things to say about your opinions. Either way it's a sign they you are subconsciously already making the steps to move on.
7. Your definitions of Success are vastly different. Friends don't have to be exactly alike but if you have varying opinions, it can be hard to want to share information because you may feel judged or misunderstood. As long as someone can continue to support you with out making assumptions then they are still beneficial in your life.
8. You start to feel they are closed-minded. Not everyone experiences the same thing. If a friend can not see that it becomes harder and harder to want to spend time, share news, or engage in activities with them. If you can't do any of those things, then what is your relationship about?
9. You feel misunderstood by them. I remember I had a friend. She knew that my parents lived in North Carolina and I had moved from there to LA. She constantly called me a Southern girl. She would go on and on about how I was the quintessential Southern girl. There is nothing wrong with Southern women but I was not born in the South. My parents are not from the South. My dad is from California and my Mom is from New Orleans (New Orleans has a culture all it's own. Primarily influenced by the Caribbean and France). I am not nor have I ever been a Southern woman. She was judging me based on her ideas of what it meant to be Southern. As well as, the very small amount of informations she had about me. What she refused to accept or acknowledge was that I had only lived in North Carolina for five years before moving back to Los Angeles. I have spent the majority of my life in Southern California. I was a Cali girl through and through. Her not understanding this basic fact about me, let me know that it was time to move on from the relationship.
10. You don't want to do anything with or for them. You feel forced rather than excited. If you are forcing yourself to spend time with someone, them it is time to move on. Friendship is suppose to be fun and easy at least most of the time. Having the desire to hangout with someone let's you know there is still a bond there.
Here's how you can handle it. (Nicely)
1. Become unavailable. Now for me this doesn't mean to completely ignore them. I think it's really disrespectful, good friend or not. And this is coming from someone who has ghosted people a couple of times. (We all grow up!). But what you can do is slowly start to make yourself less available especially for friendships that are demanding. They should begin to get the hint that you have your own life.
2. Stop apologizing for thinking differently and stick to your opinions. Groupthink is not healthy for individual growth. It may keep you from developing a sense of self and may cause you to miss out on opportunities because you are following someone else's idea of happiness. Follow your dreams and keep a open mind. Your life is yours and yours alone.
3. Don't minimize the things you don't have in common. You may think it's easier to just agree with a friend, but it actually takes more time and energy to simply agree. Simply agreeing develops a harmful pattern in which they will rely on you to back up their opinions and possibly do things that other people who know better have turned down. Be honest with your friend. You can be honest in a way that is not rude. If you stick to who you are, that will not only make you happier but it will give you the opportunity to find people who share the same interests.
If you really need to, you can always communicate your issues with your friend. Maybe there is a chance to save the friendship. Ultimately, you guys are drifting apart because you no longer share the same interests. It is better to be honest than to continue to engage in superficial, insignificant relationships. This defeats the purpose of a friendship. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend your time with people who are supportive and who you enjoy making memorable experiences with.