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5 Signs That Friends Have Grown Apart

4. You feel drained after getting together.

Key points

  • While some friendships ebb and flow, some things may indicate that two people are growing apart.
  • If you're growing apart, you may not feel motivated to reach out and you may feel relieved when you leave a get-together.
  • If you're growing apart, you may struggle to find common ground.

Friendships go through phases, ebbing and flowing over months and years. But sometimes, once important friendships start to fade. Here are five signs that you and a friend are truly growing apart.

1. You don’t feel drawn to reaching out. One sign you and your friend are growing apart is a negative shift in how you feel about reaching out to them. Do you feel excited? Or do you find that the thought of reaching out creates a knot in your stomach, a slight sense of dread, vague indifference, or perhaps irritation? You might notice that you don’t really want to reach out, though you feel like you should want to.

The idea of connecting may feel draining or bring up what it would actually feel like to spend time with this person. Perhaps the friendship has felt one-sided and reaching out brings up resentment about your doing more emotional labor in the friendship. Whatever it is, the moment of outreach is an excellent time for a gut check about whether you want to follow through.

2. You’re not on the same page about how to spend time together. Another sign of growing apart is when friends want to spend time together doing very different things. If one friend prefers to go clubbing while the other prefers quiet dinners at a restaurant, the mismatch can create tension. This is especially true if one person loses interest in the activities around which the friendship was based.

For some, these rifts begin when one friend enters a romantic relationship, has a child, or begins working at a job that demands more time and energy. For others, it is simply that one of you changed interests over time. Friends can address these rifts and try to find new ways to connect, but some may find that this solidifies the distance between them.

3. Conversations feel stilted or repetitive. While many friendships rely on shared history and anecdotes, some may find that repetitive conversation is a sign that the friendship has begun to stagnate. In these friendships, shared history or past gatherings come up not because the friends truly care to share them, but because it feels like the only thing holding the friends together. In these instances, the conversation can quickly feel boring, outdated, and stuck, which may be a sign that the friends are growing apart.

4. You feel drained after get-togethers. Just as how you feel reaching out to a friend is a good indicator of how that friendship feels, one’s feelings after a get-together offer the same opportunity. In friendships that are drifting apart, ending a get-together may feel like a relief. It may feel sad to reflect on how things used to feel and no longer feel when spending time together. One or both friends may feel tired, drained, disconnected, or relieved when the gathering or conversation ends. These are signs that the friendship is not in a healthy place and that members of the friendship may be going in different directions.

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Source: Pexels: APG Graphics

5. Time goes by without connecting and that feels good. Another sign that friends are drifting apart is that time and distance from that friend feels good. Certainly, there are healthy friendships that go long periods of time without connecting and pick up where they left off. Some friendships thrive on only periodic get-togethers. But in some friendships, one or both parties notice the absence and feel OK or even good about it.

The ebb and flow of friendships can be extremely painful for those experiencing it. But it is normal for friendships to change over time—even extremely close friendships.

Read Next: 4 Signs That You've Outgrown a Friendship

Facebook image: Bilanol/Shutterstock

References

Forecasting friends forever: A longitudinal investigation of sustained closeness between best friends. Personal Relationships Journal.

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