10 Uncomfortable Signs You're Outgrowing Your Friendship

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group of friends sitting at a table looking at their phones instead of talking to each other

Childhood friends, high school friends, and college friends all have a different sort of connection and meaning to you throughout your life. But sometimes, you outgrow these friendships no matter how hard you try to hang onto them.

It can be uncomfortable and saddening when you find yourself noticing the signs you're outgrowing friends.

It's OK to outgrow your friends, even if you used to be besties, or it's something simple like a phase you two are going through. Times change and people do as well, so moving on may just happen naturally, even if it's difficult to accept.

Am I outgrowing my friends?

As you grow up and experience new stages of life, you'll probably no longer behave the same way you used to or like the same things you did in the past. If you are starting to feel like these changes mean you and your friends are no longer as close as you once were, it may be because you're outgrowing them.

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Outgrowing your friends is normal, and it may happen more as you develop into who you are.

Maybe you realize your relationship with someone isn’t as strong as it was. Or the two of you are on different paths in life. And unfortunately, some friends might become toxic over time, and that’s when you need to move on for your own sake.

Signs you're outgrowing a friendship

1. You don’t feel attached to your conversations.

If you feel you can’t relate and can’t support a friend in whatever topic of conversation, that’s a big sign you may have outgrown each other. If you find yourself not caring or even listening to what they have to say, then maybe it's time to move on.

Perhaps your interests have changed and don't align anymore, and you don’t identify with what the two of you used to like.

It’s hard to fully realize this is happening until it begins to be a pattern.

2. You don't enjoy hanging out with them.

Does hanging out with your friend make you feel drained, or like you can't be yourself?

Maybe you used to have a bit of FOMO in the past and chose to hang out with them more often, but now you enjoy the time you have to yourself.

If you dread spending time with someone, prefer not to spend time with them, or find excuses to get out of being around them, it's a clear sign you've outgrown your friend.

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3. You don’t care what they think anymore.

This might seem harsh, but when you outgrow a friend, you don’t care to tell them or update them on your life because you don’t care what they think.

You don’t go to them anymore when something eventful has happened and you need someone to talk to. It’s not an immediate reaction anymore to ask what they think, because their validation just isn't important to you.

4. You don't like who you are with them.

You have a friend who holds onto the past, maybe insists that you still behave the way they're used to, or you feel like you have to carry on a "persona" based on your old personality to make them happy. Maybe they still expect you to party and carry on like you used to, even though you've got a toddler.

Maybe when you're with them, you take on traits and characteristics that just don't feel like "you." You can't be yourself around them, because otherwise, they wouldn't want to be your friend.

But if your friend can't accept you for who you are, it's time to let them go.

5. You feel like they're holding you back.

Maybe you can’t think about another future for yourself because you feel like you have to have those old friends in your life, and they don't agree with what you feel driven to do.

6. You feel forced to do what they do.

If your friend can't accept that you don’t want things to stay the same forever, then they aren’t good friends. You shouldn't feel forced to move where they move or do the same thing with your life that they're doing.

It’s perfectly normal to change your career path and move to another place in the world, but your friends should never hold you back.

7. You can’t imagine them in your future.

This is honestly the ultimate sign that you're outgrowing your friends. If you don’t identify a future with them in it, then you've already subconsciously pushed them out of your life.

This might even happen naturally with time if you lose touch with your old friends.



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8. You haven't reached out in a long time.

Neither you nor your past friend really cares to reach out and catch up. You may see updates on social media pages, but you don't interact with one another anymore.

9. You aren’t the same person you were before.

The years have passed and you're two very different people.

If the only reason you're friends with them now is that you were friends with them a long time ago and you struggle to maintain that connection, it's OK to let go and give yourself time to mourn what you used to have.

10. You find it awkward to have a conversation.

You find it awkward or weird between the two of you. Conversations are stressful or unnatural, and you just can’t relate to them anymore.

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What should you do if you know you’ve outgrown your friend?

Once you realize you've outgrown a friend, there are measures you can take.

Even though you might feel like you’re ready to say goodbye to them, deep down it might be hard if they were once a close friend.

Whatever the case, you can amicably part ways and bid them happiness as you both move on in your lives.

Marriage and couples counselor Larry Michel adds, "We never truly outgrow friendships of close connection that are authentic, transparent, and radically honest and void of judgment. What does often happen is one or both of us shift course to pursue projects or people that are more consuming or demanding. The quality of those friend ships does not change, but the quantity of time and focus does. Years can go by, and if the friends reconnect it is like they were never apart. Yes, two people grow apart, but a quality friendship does not."

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Megan Hatch is a former contributor to YourTango who has had bylines on Medium, Buzzfeed, MSN Canada, Patch, Voice of America, Canyon News, and others.