Growing Apart From Your Best Friend

You want there to be a reason. A concrete reason as to why you no longer feel the way you once did about your best friend, the person you grew up with and have been close with for forever. A reason would make it easier. It would make you feel less guilty. It would make the dissolution less strange and painful.

But sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes you grow apart from your best friend and there really isn’t a good reason as to why. It might be completely one-sided too, which makes you feel even worse. You’re drifting away and they still feel like nothing’s changed. You wonder if you’re a cold-hearted jerk for throwing away years of friendship. People are really invested in this idea of time being the ultimate marker for closeness and I think it’s sort of BS. “We’ve been friends just for so long, you know?” Yeah, so what? You’ve been friends for years and now you’ve grown apart. Do you keep it going, do you force the connection, just because it’s been going on for so long? If anything, keeping a friend around just because you’ve known them for so long seems more heartbreaking than just ending it. You’ll just always be reminded of how close you USED to be and how everything’s now changed and you’re not sure why. To me, that seems more painful than just cutting the friendship off.

Sometimes you just grow apart from people. You get older, your personality matures or devolves, and all of a sudden you find yourself not having a whole lot in common with someone you once did. This is just a casualty of growing up. For some reason, “growing apart” is the hardest thing to come to terms with. You wish you could just get into an explosive fight with your best friend and use that as a scapegoat. The reality, however, is that you will always love and care about them. You just don’t necessarily feel the need to have them in your life anymore. The catch up phone calls are becoming forced, you’re grasping at straws trying to come up with conversation topics. They live in a different state and aren’t involved in the day-to-day of your life which makes things difficult. You begin to dread these catch up sessions because not only do they take forever but there’s this underlying tension you are both trying so hard to avoid. The more you try to pretend the friendship is the same, the more obvious it becomes that it’s changed.

There’s no easy solution for this. What do you do? Do you call them up and say, “Look, I love you and always will but I feel like have nothing to say to you anymore?” You can’t do that! Can you?

Or do you just let it slowly die? You ignore their phone calls and then finally you put the nail in the coffin by being in the same city as them and “forgetting” to see them. That’ll let them know that it’s officially over.

I don’t know. You wish you could just be honest with each other but that’s hard, But you know what? Lying is hard too! It might even be harder than telling the truth. If you grow apart from someone, can you just be real about it? Can you ever tell them how you really feel?

Maybe. Regardless of how you choose to have the friendship end, it’s over. And sometimes that realization is harder to come to terms with than anything else. TC mark


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  • Guest

    happened to me. I never said anything and in turn had a ton of resentment…they felt it and started to get the same…ended in a big argument and we haven’t spoke in over a year. After a decade of friendship and I don’t think I could even feel comfortable saying hi to them in public.

  • breakingupwithfriends

    i wish you’d give a definite answer on how to break up with a friend the “right” way =L

  • Shari

    Currently happening to my best friend of 5 years….

  • Elaine

    This is happening to me right now and I feel terrible because I love her family and she has some mental issues, but I’m honestly sick of her which makes me feel selfish as hell

  • Jasmine

    I found this article, truthful and the timing couldn’t be better. I’ve lost touch with my BF, and she still feels like we’re still as close as we used to be in Middle School. The truth is things have changed and so have I. I just came back from spending a week with her, I didn’t enjoy myself, and by day 3 was desperate to get home. Most of the times when we had “fun” it felt so forced. Things I used to find funny, I was indifferent about, and would just laugh to make things feel right.

    We never talked really she didn’t even have my cellphone number, but I guess she lucked up, I was on IM and she randomly chatted me. I was shocked when I realized she believed our friendship was still the same, even after we hadn’t been in touch for a very long time. I’m sure one day she’ll realize we’re not as close as we used to be. I’m starting college and she’s going to the military. I doubt this “BF” friendship will flourish like it once did.

  • H

    The simple fact is, people change. Cliched as all get out, but seriously true.

  • Psychedilio

    Exact situation i’m in right now. Was great to read this.

  • CL

    I was trying to explain to my friend today why I feel disconnected from my best friend these days. Thanks for articulating it.

  • Erica

    Wow, it seems as though you hit the nail on the head with exactly how I am feeling at this moment!

  • Annabelle

    Unfortunately… it happens. On the flip side, sometimes proximity makes all the difference. When I went off to college, I drifted apart from a childhood friend who went to school on the opposite coast. Her interests, goals, and friends were so different from mine that we had less and less to talk about, even on gchat.

    3 years post-grad, we live in the same city again, and I see her almost every week. We’re still extremely different people, and our groups of friends will never really mesh, but we learn from each other and still have fun. Sometimes a long history like that is what you need to bring new perspectives into your life.

  • Rid

    Happened to me when a while ago. But I have three best friends now, we live in separate countries but everytime we meet, it’s as if we have never separate. All are okay. Hopefully forever.

  • jamie

    Story of my life. All my best friends forever, ended at some point.

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  • Cc

    Maybe I should send them this article

  • Shatha_A

    Its happens, did happen and will always be happening…most probably they keep childish behavior and simply you’re growing more mature.

    very well said January.

  • agmateo

    This could be no closer to the truth.
    January really hit on the parts about feeling guilty with yourself, but one thing she didn’t mention is how that best friend was one of the stable pillars in your life that you could rely on as a constant in an ever changing life. Once you’ve had that cathartic moment when you realize or accept that it is over, a big piece of your life just crumbles into ruins. All of the memories, the emotions, the thoughts. You might have seen life through a different lens because of this person, but now that it’s over, you begin to rethink your memories and they’re just not the same. It’s uncomfortably liberating and it leaves you empty.
    Thanks January for your perspective and your beautiful writing.

  • WHOisAnyoneAnyways?

    It’s like this for anything really.. friends, boyfriends, as sad as it is even family members. And it always seems like im the first to notice it.

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  • krymeariver

    this comment is everything. Turning 25 in october and there are just some people in my life… that don’t need to be. We’ve grown apart.

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