You’re Allowed To Outgrow People

IB Wira Dyatmika
IB Wira Dyatmika

You’re allowed to outgrow people.

A concept that’s fairly simple, but one that’s personally taken me ages to figure out. I’ve always been terrified to hurt someone’s feelings. So much so, I’ve stuck it out in relationships (including friendships) that were more damaging than they were positive.

So, if you’re a sensitive sap like me, how do we resolve this?

What do we do when we realize someone we once loved has become someone we barely tolerate? How do we move away from the people who don’t fit into our lives anymore? Do we do it slowly? Or should it be like pulling a band-aid off?

I still don’t know how to break up with people, romantic or not. It feels cruel. It feels like a betrayal to whoever – or whatever – you used to be.

But that’s not fair to someone equally important.


It’s perfectly normal (and acceptable) to grow apart from someone. Maybe even lots of someones.

Think about all the moments that have shaped you and your life. Who you are now could be totally different from who you were even a few years ago. We’re always evolving and changing. To live is to change. Nobody stays exactly the same.

This applies to the people in your life. I’ve had some friendships that are two decades old now (pretty much as old as I am) and though they change and have highs and lows, they are still incredibly important to me. But I’ve also had people I loved SO much at a specific time in my life and I drifted away from.

That’s fine.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the people who matter will remain.

And those we outgrow? It’s okay to let them go. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad friend. It just means you’ve gone in different directions. That happens. That’s part of life.

For example, I had a friend who I absolutely adored. She was hilarious and quick. She could make me laugh at the most inappropriate times. We had fun. She was a fun person.

But she also had a mean streak. Her humor often involved cutting other people down. Her remarks were sometimes laced with a rudeness that I only later understood were a result of her own insecurity.

The older I became, the more my priorities in life shifted. I developed other relationships and gained new perspectives. I became more introspective – something I continuously try to work on to better myself and how I interact with the world.

And one day, I woke up and realized her energy in my life was more of a negative than a positive one. Sure, she was funny. And we’d have great times. But she was a draining force. I was sticking it out in a friendship that both exhausted me and put me in a bad headspace.

That was an important thing to realize.

She and I had become two different people and our paths just weren’t meant to be parallel anymore.

You’re allowed to outgrow people.

It happens so naturally, some of us don’t even know what’s happening. You don’t have to feel guilty over it. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right anymore, listen. And accept that some people are part of us for chapters, but not the entire book. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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