Photo by Priscilla du Preez from Unsplash
One of the inevitable events in life is people coming into your life and leaving the very next day without warning. The same principle goes with friends who were once the only thing you look forward to being within the school and then one day turns out to be the very people you despise. Your friends can surprise you in numerous ways, the same way you can surprise them.
They can be this version of a person you’re looking for in a friend but they can be very different once you get to know them on a deeper level. Sometimes, you can get blindsided by the parts of them that you don’t like but unfortunately, you were too late because you were already bound by the invisible brand of friendship or best friends forever.
When you’re young, you think having lots of friends automatically makes you better and happier than those who have less or none at all. But as you get older, you either realize that they weren’t your friends at all or you had to “lose” them to find yourself. Then you would have thanked yourself for choosing to be brave to let go of people who did not deserve to know you anymore than they have. It may not feel good at the onset of losing them, but someday, you will understand why it had to end.
The ironic thing about friendships in your twenties is you suddenly get the confidence to speak up for what you stand for, what you like, what you think of a certain issue, etc. Back when you were a young teenager, you wouldn’t think you were even allowed to express your opinion about something because you were too afraid your friends would leave you. Now that you’re in your twenties, you become more mindful and conscious of who you share your life with or who you call a friend.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN YOU LOSE FRIENDS?
Generally, it means that you and your friends are changing and growing. There are various implications on what it means when you lose friends. It can be as simple as you’ve outgrown from your friends or can be complicated as you have complex personalities that people don’t often relate to. It implies that you probably have a problem with your behavior and attitude towards your friends. Whatever the reason, when someone is adamant to leave your life, there’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s beyond your control to make them stay.
9 COMMON REASONS YOU LOSE FRIENDS AS YOU GET OLDER:
YOU WILL SEE EACH OTHER LESS
When you venture through life in your twenties, your life will take its course. The choices you make are going to determine a lot of things, including the sustainability of your friendship. You won’t have the luxury of time to plan outings and lunch dates as your time would be allocated to work or relationships. You will have your own set of priorities that don’t match theirs. You would see each other less because your schedules wouldn’t go in sync anymore, not like before. This is where the effort of compromising each other’s schedules and priorities comes in, to make time for each other.
YOU WON’T TALK ABOUT THE SAME THINGS
When you were young, you used to talk about the same things over and over. The conversations you once had were about the same girls you despised, the same boys you had crushes on or dated, and any other similarities. But as you grow older, your interests and priorities tend to steer towards your personal life and those who are directly affiliated with you. In your twenties, you’re now more engaged in building your business, career, and or taking care of your family and just can’t see many of your friends as much as you used to anymore. Unfortunately, when there are no more similar interests, there wouldn’t be much active communication and energy to fuel the life of your friendship.
YOUR DIFFERENCES WILL GET IN THE WAY
Friendships, or any relationships for that matter, start with a common interest. As you get older, you learn more about yourself. Before you might like eating at posh restaurants to please your rich friends. You force yourself to enjoy the things you did before because they wouldn’t listen to any of your suggestions. Now that you’re older, you get tired of pretending to be someone else you’re not to make them like you. People-pleasing in your teenage years is all over now. Now that you’re getting older, you couldn’t care less about what your high school and college friends would spend their free time. You’ve stopped apologizing for your weird hobbies and preferences because you realized being the way you are is the only way to be happy.
YOUR FRIENDSHIP ENDED ON BAD TERMS
A painful yet common reason you lose friends is the constant fights you had that was never resolved until the last day you spoke to each other. Perhaps you had your trust broken, or that’s something you did to your friend. You lose friends because the friendship, the bond that you created for several years, is crushed to pieces. You don’t remember the friend you once bonded with in the last two years and you finally decide to leave him. It’s hard to leave a friendship on a bad note and it can even stretch to deeper vendettas for some in the future.
YOU DISCOVER WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE
Back when you were in high school or college, you made friends because of different reasons. Perhaps one of them is to have someone to walk with or help you through in-class just in case you missed something. Another reason could be so you can fulfill your fantasy of having the best high school experience ever. Regardless of your reason, there is a condition that ties our friendship to an intangible object. As you get older, you realize that the important things to you in high school didn’t matter anymore to you at your age. You’ve changed and felt like you already know how to stand on your own two feet. Since then, you stopped hanging out with your “friends” who didn’t treat you like a friend. You lost them because you didn’t connect with them and they weren’t good to you in any way. It’s just a matter of time before we realize what kind of friends are truly good for us. We lose friends because we finally decide to cut them off.
YOUR CIRCLE STARTS TO EXPAND
Your friends reach out to other friends and you feel left out. You feel like you’re not enough for them. You lose friends because they have other circles of friends that don’t interest you or you don’t personally like. You project your insecurities on your friend who’s done nothing wrong. It’s not healthy to keep your friend all to yourself or in your circle. Being loyal is different from being possessive. You lose friends because maybe they’re spreading themselves too thin or your friendship wasn’t mature enough in the first place.
YOU HAVE DIFFERENT PRIORITIES
The rigid demands of adulthood vary for everybody, and it changes them for the worse. Some will prioritize marriage and a family meanwhile some pursue higher education. Some will get pulled by not-so-good types of friends and end up on tough roads. You lose friends because you’re not on the same page anymore. We all think we’re a priority until we’re proven wrong. We all think we’re special until an untoward event comes in our friends’ life that we don’t know about and hate them for having missed your birthday party. Our stupid pride is already bad enough to taint relationships, now it’s putting more weight on the fact that our differences are slowly keeping us apart.
YOU START TO ENJOY DIFFERENT THINGS
You will change so much now since your teenage years, and this will have a great impact on your friendships as well. Before you used to like the same things — one obvious reason is you had limited options and you were too young to realize there were more choices to pick from in high school. Now that you get older, you begin to expand new horizons and meet new people, having more options.
This is something that’s not directly your fault because change happens to everyone, and it’s not always a bad thing. However, the cost would be that you wouldn’t be able to relate with your friends as much anymore. But don’t hate yourself for changing, many people can be your friends in this new version of you while you hang out with the friends you used to hang out with. Creating balance is hard but it is possible.
YOU REALIZE YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH
You lose friends the moment you decided to put yourself first. You realized you’ve been beating yourself for bruising your ego and forcing yourself to be in a place that didn’t want you there. For years, you’ve “seemingly” been a part of a circle when you know they see you as nothing but invisible. They were toxic and undeserving of your kindness. They used you when you served best for them at that time, and years passed, you decided to love yourself. You stopped caring for their opinion and stopped asking for their impression.
This is one of those bittersweet moments of losing friends — you losing them was a doorway for you to open and realize that they’ve lost you first, and now you’re just locking the door shut after opening it very widely for people who don’t deserve to enter. When you let go of toxic friends, never be ashamed, scared, or feel bad about cutting ties with them. Not only is it for your protection but it is also an act of saving you from future harm they will inflict on you.
HOW THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED FRIENDSHIPS:
The pandemic has affected a myriad of personal relationships and commitments, and friendships are no exemption. This pandemic was not the sole reason many friendships ended, but it is one of the main causes that revealed their true intentions and interests.
- Cancelled Trips. Numerous trips abroad planned and prepared for in 2019 were canceled and it was the end of the world for some people. There would be no hangout spots or travel destinations to go to anymore, and the lost time and memories ruined many friendships.
- No Time. Your friendship will deteriorate in value because you have no time to even drop a message. Another situation would be if someone sends a message and the other fails to reply. We’re all going through something emotionally and it’s difficult to cope with stress and anxiety without the people we love whom we consider our support system.
- Lockdown Restrictions. Lockdown rules and regulations vary in different areas of the world. Bottom line is, you can’t come to each other’s houses to talk. Due to the pandemic, you don’t see each other very often and this has taken away the potential best memories of your life should there be no pandemic.
- Financial Obligations. We have different financial statuses. Due to the pandemic, there come awkward conversations about asking for money. The hard truth about money is, when people are desperate for it, sometimes friendships go second. There are also instances when these friends have no sense of decency and responsibility to pay back as soon as they can. They hide their audacity behind the term “friendship.”
- New Set of Friends. Since the onset of the pandemic, it was like a series of nightmares flashing before our eyes through the TV screens. The news gets worse and worse, and there’s no one to talk to, no outlet to pour into our thoughts. All of our lives changed dramatically in different ways and sometimes, we can’t cope with it. Secretly, we demand more attention and time from our friends because we believe we’ve had it worse than them. The comparison between who’s had it worse then comes along which destroys the bond even more. Then, your friends start looking out to more friends. Little do you know, you get left behind.
If your circle of friends is one of the many friendships that ended during the pandemic, that is a clear sign that it wasn’t as stable of a foundation as you thought it was. A bond that is happy and strong only during convenient times is not genuine. Much like a romantic relationship, love, patience, and understanding are needed to sustain a friendship especially in the middle of a pandemic and an economic recession. If you’re part of the 80% of the people who believe that a friendship’s survival solely depends on the factors above, then you ought to learn introspection.
Friendships don’t end immediately when one person stops communicating. It ends when both concede that there’s no friendship to rekindle anymore. All that’s left are used-to-be’s and awkward smiles. As we get older, looking for friends gets erased from our list of priorities. This is not to say that we must pressure ourselves into finding the right people to call as friends before we turn the twenties, but it means that we just start to appreciate who we have.
“False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.”Christian Nestell Bovee