Friends. They are some of the best companions we can hope to have. They’re with you through thick and thin, forever and always, right? Most would hope the answer is yes. But sometimes, we face a different reality. Especially as we grow older.
You might be asking yourself this exact question. How could someone who I’ve practically been stuck to like glue since we were seven (or insert any other age that would show a longer amount of time) seem like a stranger now? Or, how could someone I’ve so deeply connected to, no matter how long we’ve known each other, seem more distant than ever?
Honestly, a multitude of reasons. But most of it can be summed up to growing apart. As we age, we learn so much more about ourselves and step further into who we’re supposed to be as we get older. Sometimes, both people simultaneously change in opposite directions, and other times, one person begins to develop new interests before the other. This can feel frustrating because we all love our friends, but it’s hard to want to spend as much time with someone we don’t relate with much anymore. It’s even harder when you either feel left behind or like you’re evolving and your friend isn’t.
What Can I Do?
Quite frankly, there’s not much to do. Continue to learn about yourself and to dive into your own interests. Know that you also have a decision to make about whether to continue genuinely trying to reconnect, or if you should let your friend take a backseat to new potential close friends and opportunities. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Do you think this is a healthy friendship to continue? Do you engage in positive and healthy behavior with this person, or do you only seem to get into conflict or trouble when around them? If you feel they’re going through something major, it’s probably best that you get an adult or a professional involved and support them in a more controlled, and perhaps more distant, way.
- Is your old friend someone that, presently, uplifts you and inspires you? How do you feel about yourself and your friendship after you talk to this person?
- Is there anything you actually enjoy doing with your friend anymore? Do you have anything in common apart from nostalgia?
Also, remember that you can’t force it. As painful as losing a friend may be, no amount of effort will make someone who isn’t interested come back to you. It’ll just make you tired, and it’ll take you away from the positive things that make you an amazing and interesting individual.
The Comparison Game
I also wanted to mention that it’s (unfortunately) extremely common in female friendships to experience turmoil because of comparison. You’re going through a period of constant change. Your body is changing. Your interests are changing. And you’re being introduced to new opportunities and possibilities for your future. As human beings, we all experience things at different rates. Sometimes it can seem like someone is so far ahead of you. I’ve thought, on many occasions, about how my friends seem so much happier because they managed to get the boyfriend first, to lose the weight first, to be recognized in an extracurricular or job first. But little did I know that it just wasn’t my turn yet. And through life experience, I’ve seen the success teeter-totter go up and down many times.
I just want you to know there’s no point in comparing. You’re right where you need to be and there’s probably a reason as to why it’s taking you a little longer to get to where your friends are. And I don’t mean a bad reason! Maybe you just have more opportunity to learn something new, or maybe you’re being protected, or maybe (probably) something even better is in store. Patience is the name of the game and until you get where you need to be, practice supporting your friends more if you feel green with envy. It can be hard, I know, but you wouldn’t want your friends to be mad at you when you achieved something big. Women have a terrible reputation for competing with one another, and I say we work even harder to stop it.
Sometimes supporting our friends (especially our girl friends) is all it takes to keep/rekindle a friendship.
Losing a friend can be hard. It’s okay to grieve this loss because it’s pretty major. Just remember to always take care of yourself, choose kindness, and be open to what possibilities are in store. Whether that means your friend comes back or you make new friends, I know you’ll get through this!
Check out more friendship articles from GirlSpring contributors!