What do you do when your friend is growing apart from you?
This is the question of the century. It can apply to not only your friends, but your significant others as well. I know that I sound like a broken record, if you’ve been keeping up with this column, but I honestly think the key to success for ANY relationship, new, old, or rekindled, is simply to communicate.
As usual, I have about 100 follow up questions. Age sometimes can make a difference, but I have an idea of the age of the person in question, so I’ll use that as my basis.
Is this someone you’ve known for your whole life, or just a few years?
Is this person distancing themselves from you on purpose? Do you know their reasoning if so?
Is this person gradually or quickly drifting away from you?
So many more, I can’t even count!
Let’s put a “scenario” spin on this question. I happen to know that the person asking is most likely in High School. Which makes this so much easier to answer, since any “adult” has probably experienced this on SO many levels, with many different outcomes and feelings as a result.
Let’s assume this high school student, who used to have all the same likes, dislikes, classes, extra curriculars, etc. as the “friend” in question is the person submitting this question. Lets also consider that while some of those things are still “likenesses” some of them, at the very least, have changed. Sure, you’re still required to take science classes, but maybe one friend likes science MORE so takes a more advanced science class. Suddenly, you’re in one less class together. Then by Sophomore year, one of you have made the cut for a varsity sports team, but the other, has lost interest in sports all together, or is still on JV. Another example could be after school activates. Maybe your group of friends has been split up a bit. Maybe you all used to live close by and now you’ve been moved further away so it’s harder to spend the weekends together or meet up after school.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Almost every person reading this can relate to one if not more than 1 of those spins, in relation to a friendship or something more, during their high school “career”.
If we dive a little bit further below the surface, we can get to external reasons why you might be drifting apart. Maybe you’ve hurt their feelings, crushed on someone they were into, got a spot on that team they wanted, but couldn’t get. Maybe you are the captain of something that they were shooting for. There are a lot of things that can cause your friend to be envious, but they are too ashamed to talk about openly, so they drift further away to stop the pain or anger. Maybe they are hiding something shameful, embarrassing. Maybe they have a new friend that just doesn’t level out with your friendship, or just makes more time for them, on their schedule. Maybe there is something going on at home that keeps them busy and they’d rather just make an excuse for it. Maybe they are in a relationship and as things move forward, more of their time is devoted to that new person. Maybe it’s something more serious.
Maybe you are just growing up, which results in some relationships just simply becoming more distant.
As we age, college selections can draw us across the country, even when we are still living at home. We start to consider what life would be like without these people and focus on life after high school. Sometimes we just simply grow up and grow out of friendships.
I could keep going on about the maybes and what ifs, but I think the best way to approach this, the first thing you need to do, especially if you don’t want to lose this person entirely, is to talk to them about it. Once you get past that hurdle, then you can start to try to understand it from their point of view. Sure, they might not be receptive at first, to 20 questions about why they don’t seem to be as devoted to your relationship as you are, but wouldn’t you rather find out sooner rather than later, why this relationship seems to be lost at sea?
At the end of the day, the only thing you can do is put yourself in their shoes. Talk to them. Find out if there is a way to get closer. Maybe they don’t even know that’s the way you feel. Maybe they haven’t noticed.
I can’t promise that they’ll be receptive to this conversation. Heck, they may even feel a bit attacked at first, but any good relationship, the ones worth saving, even when you’ve moved 2,500 miles away, are the ones that you can always talk to.
If you don’t make it known that this is how they are making you feel, you don’t stand a chance.
Even if this relationship doesn’t end up being saved, don’t use it for the premise of all relationships. Don’t be afraid to talk to future friends about the same feelings, or any feelings. They are friends for a reason. Remember that everyone grows up. Some people grow together, some people grow apart. Some grow apart, only to end up back together years later, with the same strong bond they had before. You have your whole life to live, and literally billions of people you haven’t even met. If this relationship is worth saving, TALK to them about it, and see what happens. You already feel like you’re losing them, what more do you have to lose?
If you want to provide more details on the situation and its specifics, you can email me, write me on FB or simply reply in the comments section anonymously. I can post follow up comments to any rebuttals or questions you may have! Its difficult to have all the answers when you have so many questions!
As always, thank you for the question. Thank you for opening yourself up to the internet and a stranger, who may not be old, but sometimes likes to feel wise. Check back for comments to see if other people have the same advice that I have, and it’s never to late to submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org OR visit our FB using the links on the home page.