So you have grown up, but your social circle hasn’t? Relationship coach and author of How to Find and Create Lasting Love, Dylan Thrasher spells out the harsh truth, “Friendships are not always meant to last forever, despite people’s best intentions and idealism.” Even though you’ve been BFFs (best friends) for a long time now, it might be time to let go.

Best Friend Or Drinking Buddy?

When there is no more emotional or intellectual growth, it’s time to call it quits. “There is a big difference between an enriching friendship and a drinking buddy. The challenge is being able to tell one from another,” Dylan says.

Achieving milestones in adult life and watching your friends react to it is one way of catching the red flags. A new parent must often move on from her colleagues, who prefer to hit the pub when she wants to rush home to spend time with her family. Health-conscious individuals are often made to feel guilty for cutting out their club-happy social circle, so they can wake up in time for yoga. If your life has changed, it’s possible that you may not be able to relate to your old friends anymore, and that’s absolutely normal.

Moving On

Arrange your priorities and look for like-minded friends that support your positive decisions, advises New York-based psychotherapist Denise Limongello. She says, “There’s no reason to hurt someone’s feelings. Polite, gradual distance can be an option as opposed to an awkward sit-down.”

Be sure, however, to stick to your guns. Although you might find there are things you miss about your friend, try to remind yourself of the strength of your decision and all of the other reasons you’re better off without this person in your life. It doesn’t need to be a life ban. Immature friends do grow up eventually. They just aren’t synced to your frequency, she points out.

Friendships are based on circumstance, physical proximity and similar hobbies/interests, according to social scientists. It is precisely for this reason that new parents find themselves spending more time with other new parents. It’s a gradual evolution.

The Last Word

True friends, and not those who simply play the role because it is convenient, will understand your need for space to grow. This is not to say that circumstantial friends, like ones who made hostel life more bearable, aren’t being genuine in their feelings. Human beings tend to seek support in others out of our natural make-up. However, circumstantial friends drift away organically when these bonding circumstances change. It is the true ones that manage to stay in contact.

But when a relationship is directly affecting your progress in life or sapping you of energy, one must make a decision to self-preserve. If a friend is constantly putting you down and making you feel wretched, ask yourself why you put up with it. It might purely be out of habit, or because you feel like there isn’t a way out.

An easy thumb-rule is to look at friendships like a romantic relationship. “When the friendship appears one-sided, much like an unhealthy romantic relationship, things will go south. Friendships also require two people putting in effort and level the playing field,” says Dylan.

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