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13 Sure Signs You've Outgrown Someone Who Seemed Important In Your Life

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There’s undeniable truth in the time-worn adage, “The only constant is change.” Yet accepting change can be hard, especially when it comes to our relationships changing.

Friendships, family relationships, and romantic partnerships are always shifting, and sometimes, people drift apart, even when you love each other.

   

   

Here are 13 signs you’ve outgrown someone who was important to you:

1. You still love them, but you like them less.

Loving someone isn’t a static act. Your love and affection for someone can expand or shrink. It takes a level of practical and emotional labor from both people to nurture a connected relationship, whether that relationship is romantic or platonic. 

In 1970, social psychologist Zick Rubin developed a system to measure loving someone versus liking them. He believed that romantic love has three components: attachment, caring, and intimacy. The act of liking someone differs from loving them, and can be characterized by feelings of warmth, respect, closeness, and admiration. 

signs you've outgrown someone Photo: cottonbro studio / Pexels 

While it sounds counterintuitive, it’s possible to love or care for someone yet not like them completely. If you feel this way about a person, it could be a hint that you’re in the process of outgrowing your relationship with them.

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2. Your interactions feel forced.

Maybe you used to spend hours on the phone with one particular friend, talking about everything and nothing all at once, only now, your conversations are lacking the spark they once had. 

If you find that interactions with someone don’t flow the way they used to, you could be moving on from them.

3. You accept that their annoying traits won’t change.

As noted by therapist Logan Cohen, another sign of outgrowing someone is noticing that “things that bothered you in the past don’t surprise you anymore; you’ve just accepted that that’s how they are, for better or for worse.”

   

   

Of course, even when you love someone, they are bound to be parts of them you don’t like very much. No person is perfect and learning to accept someone’s flaws is a valuable part of practicing radical acceptance in relationships. 

But accepting characteristics that you don’t like in someone can also be a sign that you’re growing apart, as you no longer expect them to change.

4. You live in the memory of what things used to be like with them.

If it feels easier to remember past experiences with a person than to create new memories with them, you might be ready to move on.

signs you've outgrown someone Photo: luizph / Pexels 

There’s value in nostalgia, but holding onto memories of what it used to be like with someone can also mean that you’re both different people than you once were, and that you don’t have much in common anymore.

5. You justify why you let the person into your life.

Another sign of outgrowing someone comes in the form of consistent reasoning with yourself, trying to justify why you’re a part of each other’s lives.

If you find yourself thinking about why you’re still friends with them, as though you’re making a pros and cons list of your relationship, it might mean that your friendship has run its course. 

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6. Your growth isn’t celebrated.

The passing of years inevitably brings change, but there will be people in your life who don’t celebrate the changes you’re making. A major sign that you’ve outgrown someone comes in the form of feeling held back, or criticized by them about the person you’re becoming.

Our loved ones should champion us as we grow; if someone in your life is more negative than positive about the ways you’re evolving, it might be because the two of you no longer fit. 

7. You have very different perspectives on important topics.

Loving someone doesn’t always mean that you see eye-to-eye on everything, but if it feels your perspectives deeply differ around the bigger, more important topics, you could be outgrowing them.  

8. You spend less time together.

Growing up and growing older means having more responsibilities, and you might go months without texting or seeing certain people you care about.

Yet if you find yourself prioritizing spending time with a certain person less, you might be ready to focus on other relationships in your life that hold more immediate value for you.

signs you've outgrown someone Photo: RDNE Stock Project / Pexels

9. You don’t think they’re a bad person, you just don’t think they're your person.

This sign of outgrowing a person goes hand-in-hand with the feeling of loving them but not liking them. You think they’re a good person. They’re nice, they’re funny, they’re kind. They’re just not the person you’d choose for yourself.

10. You don’t want to tell them what you’re thinking.

It’s possible that you’ve changed so much that you no longer want to let this person into your inner world– and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you or with them, you just have grown apart, and you’re missing a certain sense of intimacy that you once had.

   

   

If you feel like you need to protect yourself around them for your inner peace, you’re ready to move on from the relationship.

11. You’re quiet around them.

Podcaster Chris Nappi shared a way he knows he’s outgrown a person, noting that “when you start getting quiet around them,” that’s how you know you’ve moved on from them. 

   

   

“When you can’t even talk anymore ‘cause you’re just like, ‘I don’t even want to express myself, ‘cause you just don’t even get it.”

12. You feel criticized by them.

There’s a difference between gently offering critique and being critical. The first is based on cultivating caring and awareness, the second is much more negative and harmful.

   

   

If someone in your life is constantly criticizing you, it might mean that you no longer fit in each other’s lives, because your values or daily practices have changed.

13. You can’t picture a future with them.

Close your eyes and think about your life 5 years from now. Who do you see yourself with? Which people in your life today are still in your life in the future? If you can’t imagine a particular person being in your life in the long term, you’ve probably run through the natural course of the relationship.

Letting go of someone you love, someone you like, or someone whose presence you appreciate is a major challenge, but it’s also an entirely common part of the ebb and flow of relationships.

If you find yourself outgrowing a person in your life, be open and honest with yourself and with them. Express how you feel, and be gentle with all the tender emotions outgrowing a relationship can bring. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers relationships, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.