Maintaining good friendships is a form of self-care that provides comfort and encouragement, and this can enhance your mental well-being. But what happens when the dynamics of a friendship change and you start drifting apart?
One minute you’re seeing your best friend all the time and the next you’re lucky to find any free time for each other. Friends drift apart for a range of reasons – maybe your person has been spending more time with new friends, they may have started a serious relationship, they may have moved across the country, or you may have no idea what has changed. Even though it’s normal for relationships to change over time, it can still be hard. You may feel angry or hold onto some bitterness.
I was scrolling through TikTok a few weeks ago and came across this video of a woman who had just gotten out of her therapy session. They had talked about the loss of friendships and what that meant. What became an “aha moment” for me was when she made the following statement (and I’m paraphrasing).
Not everyone is meant to stay and that’s okay. There are three reasons that someone comes into your life — for a season, for a lifetime, or for a lesson. Try not to hold onto the anger or resentment. That does you more harm than good. If someone wants to leave your life, just open the door and let them go. Someone new will come along.
All this made sense to me. In my lifetime, I’ve had to let go of friendships for many reasons. Usually, it’s because I have put so much into the relationship but not received much in return. I’ve had to give myself permission to let go of these friendships and understand that it’s okay and it’s natural for friendships to end. And, that I’m not a failure for having lost the friendship.
What do you do when a friendship has ended? How do you move forward? Even though it’s normal for relationships to change over time, it can still be hard to adjust. You might feel confused, sad, or even angry. Give yourself some time to work through any emotions that come up. Maybe you can still maintain the relationship, but it might require some adjustments.
You can also try to look at it differently. Remind yourself that it’s hard, but a normal part of life. Think about past friendships that changed but then led to making new friends. Try reconnecting with friends that you haven’t seen in a long while. And, be open to meeting new people. Who knows what new adventures will come your way?!
“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled.’ — Ally Condie
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