life beyond the well…

what happens when you outgrow your friends?


I’ve been wondering this for a while- what happens when you outgrow your friends?  It is even possible to outgrow your friends?  My thought is that it is- and the proof is that we all know people who were our friends at different points in our lives.  You’ve got your college friends, your friends who you were cool with in high school, the elementary buddies that you’ve managed to stay in touch with, and then the people that you meet at your jobs, etc.

The proximity of closeness changes in friendships based on a number of different things.  My personal frustrations with my own friends tends to be based out of the fact that it seems like LIFE is happening to us, and “busyness” seems to be the excuse for why we haven’t talked in forever.  Now, I know how I operate- and as a friend, you can rank me pretty high on the “most likely to not return a phone call” list.  However, in my defense- I send emails…and cards…and I text.  Just a different means of expression.  But, I feel like in the lives of friends “busyness” should never be an appropriate excuse.  Why?  Because it’s a convenience.  We’re all busy.  We all have different things pulling us in different directions.  But, you make time for what’s important.  So, when I hear, “I’ve been so busy”, what I understand is “I don’t really have time for you.”  Hmm…

…but I digress.  So, what do you do when you outgrow your friends and how do you know when that has taken place?  Do you just count your losses and acknowledge that it was good for what it was, when it was?  Has it happened when you realized that you haven’t talked for months, and if someone asked you what was good with the person, you honestly wouldn’t know?  And how do you handle that situation?

“The best discovery true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

“There’s these people you’ve known forever.  Who like…know you…in this way that other people can’t.  Because they’ve seen you change.  They’ve let you change.” ~My So-Called Life


Author: erin.almond

God-chaser. NC native, now planted in Jacksonville, FL. Happily married to a handsome church-planting pastor. I am easily excited by Jesus, education, cupcakes, Moleskine notebooks, and Pepsi. Overwhelmed by God's amazing grace, undeserving of His love and mercy.

10 thoughts on “what happens when you outgrow your friends?

  1. I think it’s totally possible to outgrow your friends, but even more likely that we outgrow our friendships. As our lives progress and change, it becomes apparent that relationships with certain friends are not “the same”. This doesn’t necessarily mean we should cut our losses and forget about them, but that we need to find a new way of relating to those we know and care for. It is sometimes the style of friendship that we expect, not always the people themselves, that must change.
    I am at a stage where I find myself secretly yearning for the relationships I had (or could have had) in college. When I went back to school this past year, I found myself surrounded by 18-22 year olds, proudly displaying the types of friendships I thought I had lost/missed out on. However, whenever I spent significant amounts of time interacting with them, I found out that this style of friendship no longer fit my life. I felt like the social equivalent of the 40-something woman squeezing into the skinny jeans she’s had since 1983 (because she knew they would come back in style): awkward, and a bit lumpy. And desperate. Now, should this woman give up denim for good? Of course not. Should she make her way down to the mall and invest in some mid-rise bootcut jeans that would be much more comfortable and flattering – probably.
    But enough of my bad analogy. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s possible to have friends forever as long as we don’t expect our friendships to remain the same. As you mentioned in your last post, Erin, now is all we really have. If we focus on letting our relationships be what they are instead of trying to recreate what was, we might find them to be much more enriching and fulfilling than we had hoped.
    But that’s just me… 🙂

  2. The analogy actually works. I feel where you are coming from.

    I guess another thing about the changing nature of friendships is that even though those people who were always around may not be around in the capacity that you want them to be in, when you truly need them and call them up…they still know the right advice to give. It feels as if nothing has changed… they still know us, know how to make us laugh, know the right thing to say and even how to make us mad…

    I have come to several points where I just had to accept that somethings are for a season a reason or a lifetime… and that some friendships only last a season. I have recently come to learn that the beautiful things about seasons is that they come back around (even though global warming is trying to change it up…) I’ve reconnected with several friends and it feels as if we didn’t miss a beat 🙂

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  4. somehow, outgrowing friends is the hardest thing to do… you can never evade the fact that someone is going to get to feel that they are ditched… however, when your personal priorities are not in the same wavelength, you may have to choose for yourself… somehow, some people do not understand that… some think you’re selfish and they want you to stay the way they’ve met your some 10 years back.. which is really not possible… conversation wouldn’t be as fluid as you would want it to be when you both start growing apart.

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