Nearly six years ago, I wrote this post entitled “What Happens When You Outgrow Your Friends?” and it’s hard to believe that it’s been one of the most popular posts on this blog.
It is indeed possible for you to “outgrow” your friends, purely because life happens. And as life happens, things change. We change. We adapt and we evolve. And as that process happens, you may find yourself in a different place than some of your friends. While “life happens”, it doesn’t happen to everyone at the same rate/same pace/same time. It’s like puberty- some people are “early bloomers”, some blossom late. Those changes impact your values, as well as where and how you focus your time and energy- and your friendship can be one of the casualties of such change.
But here’s another truth: when you remove the commonalities that you share with your friends that merge your life together (school, church, work), it really requires effort to maintain a friendship. So, in some cases, you haven’t “outgrown” a friendship, it’s just that with the change of circumstances, neither person is willing to put forth the effort required to maintain a friendship. Is that bad? I think it depends on how you define “bad”.
However, I do believe that everyone isn’t meant to go with you all the way. Life is a marathon. As you run your marathon, you’ll find that your running group and your crowd changes across the miles. There are some who are with you for the duration. There are some who are there to get you through some of the difficult miles. There are some who help you get off to a good start, and there are some who help ensure that you finish well. There’s value in each of those roles, and you should appreciate people for them. But when it’s time for roles to change, be accepting of that as well. And that, I believe is truly more difficult to do. However, you can do yourself more harm by staying in relationships that need to end, as opposed to dealing with the emotion and moving on accordingly.
The best way that I’ve found to handle these situations, is to trust that God has provided me with all that I need for the season that I’m in–and that includes the friends that I have. When friendships change, I praise God for the opportunity to have had that relationship, and then I continue in prayer for them and for my ability to move forward. Each time, God has been faithful, and equipped me to be able to move forward with grace.
Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!