Writing this article is coming at a very relevant time in my life. Having moved away from home a few years ago, I’ve noticed that one of my close friendships has changed…for the worse.
Even though I make an effort to keep in touch and visit whenever possible, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that perhaps I’ve outgrown her.
From talking less to feeling misunderstood when we are together, it feels like the sinking of a ship I want to so dearly cling to.
Does this sound familiar to you?
It’s a pretty heartbreaking thing to go through, but knowing when to move on is necessary for moving forward.
Because ultimately, some people come into our lives for a short while, while others stick with us for a lifetime.
Here are 10 signs you’ve outgrown someone in your life (and it’s time to move on):
1) Your friendship is rooted in the past
At this point, I’m sure there’s someone coming to mind that you suspect you’ve outgrown.
So think about this – whenever you talk or meet up, do you spend the entire time reminiscing on old memories?
If that’s all you have to talk about, it signifies that it’s all you have left connecting you to this person.
The truth is, healthy friendships evolve naturally as time goes on. You grow in your own ways, but you also grow together.
Without that, it might be time to consider moving on. Reminiscing is nice and all, but it shouldn’t be the only thing a friendship revolves around.
2) You don’t share any interests anymore
If you do find yourself constantly stuck in the past with this friend, it might be because you don’t share the same interests anymore.
With my particular friend, we used to enjoy going out for cocktails every Friday night. That was our thing. Oh, and talking about the Kardashians….(give me a break, I was young!).
But those things don’t interest me anymore. I want to talk about AI, the state of the world, travel, and whether to be a parent or not.
My friend, on the other hand, is more interested in partying, makeup, and gossip.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to accept that as people grow, their hobbies and interests usually change.
Neither is in the wrong, but two people heading in different directions make a friendship much harder to maintain.
3) Communication has decreased
One of the first signs that I felt I was outgrowing my friendship is when we started to struggle to keep in touch. We went from voice noting every couple of days to a quick message once a month, promising to FaceTime soon.
Look back over your friendship – can you see a clear decline in how often you talk?
To some degree, a decrease in contact is normal. I have other friends who are now parents, so naturally, we talk slightly less. But when we do talk, it’s as if no time has passed.
But if neither of you is making much of an effort anymore, it shows that perhaps the friendship is gradually fizzling out.
Especially if you have nothing meaningful to talk about anymore.
4) You feel emotionally drained by them
When you’re with your friend, do you feel energized and enlightened by their company?
Or do you leave feeling exhausted, negative, and wishing you’d never agreed to meet in the first place?
If it’s the latter, it’s a pretty telling sign you’ve outgrown them.
You’re simply not on the same wavelength anymore.
But that’s not all…
If your friend feels more like an unruly teenager that you have to keep helping out, constantly fixing their turbulent lifestyle and decisions, it could be that they’ve not matured to the same level as you.
A part of you might feel responsible for helping them, but you shouldn’t. They’re an adult, just like you.
Remind yourself – healthy friendship should be a source of comfort and fun, not something you dread.
5) They remind you of the “old” you
This point resonates with me a lot. I’ve spent the last few years traveling the world, working on myself as a person, and opening my mind to new ideas and possibilities.
But when I’m back with my friend, I see my “old” self in her. Someone who seems to have stayed still in time, whilst I’ve moved forward.
And I don’t mean that in a horrible way – she’s a good person.
But being around her reminds me of how far I’ve come, and it’s a pretty telling sign that I’ve outgrown her.
So, think about your own friendship, does being with them feel like going back in time, but not in a good way?
6) You don’t feel supported
If you’ve outgrown someone in your life, you might feel unsupported by them.
Perhaps you’ve achieved some great things recently, running your first marathon or getting a promotion at work.
But hang on – your friend was nowhere to be seen during this process. They weren’t cheering you on during those long, hard training sessions.
They didn’t bother turning up to celebrate your promotion.
This is a clear sign that you need to move on.
I’m not going to speculate on their reasons for not supporting you (although, jealousy and envy are usually the culprits), but you deserve friends who’ll be there for you in the highs and lows.
7) You feel uncomfortable around them
I know whenever I go back I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I’ve worked hard on using my voice and not sweeping issues under the rug.
But being around this certain friend means a lot of holding my tongue, watering down my opinions, or just generally behaving in a way that isn’t me anymore.
You might have experienced this too…
Someone who used to be so easy to be around now feels more like a stranger that you’ve got to make an effort with.
8) They’re judgemental toward you
It’s hard to be judged by strangers on the internet, but even more difficult when it comes from someone you used to be good friends with.
A friend who constantly criticizes you or lowers your self-esteem through mean remarks isn’t a friend.
Maybe they’re resentful that you’ve progressed in life. Without them.
Maybe they’re jealous of how much you’ve changed.
Or maybe they’re just stuck in negative, immature thought patterns and can’t break free from them.
Whatever the reason, you deserve better.
9) You crave new friendships
If so far, the points above have resonated with you, then it’s likely that deep down you’re craving new, fulfilling friendships.
And this is just another sign that your current friendship isn’t serving you anymore.
A part of you knows that there will be people out there who you can connect with on a deeper level.
Friends who you actually have things in common with and can be yourself around. But more than that, people who will encourage, challenge, and inspire you to be your best self.
This leads me to my next point:
10) You feel like they hinder your personal growth
And finally, if you feel like this person hampers your personal growth instead of encouraging it, it’s time to move on.
Your friend might not even be aware they’re doing this, but if they pull you back into old ways of thinking or negative habits, this friendship isn’t worth continuing.
Ultimately, while accepting that you’ve outgrown someone can be painful, it’s also a natural part of life.
Even if they’ve been your best friend for 15 years (which is the case for me), it’s important to realize that you can go your separate ways without any anger or resentment.
I’ll always love my friend, but she’s not going to be the person I call when I need a shoulder to lean on, or to tell good news to. And I’m slowly becoming okay with that.
I hope this article helps you a) move on with grace, and b) recognize that if you’ve outgrown a friendship, it’s a testament to your progress and hard work to evolve as a person.
So whilst you will feel sad, you should also feel proud of yourself!