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Growing Apart From an Old Friend

Group Therapy: Growing Apart From One of my Oldest Friends

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I've been friends with the same person for more than ten years. We grew up together, but we've grown to be very different in our adult life. We still laugh at the same things and enjoy similar activities, but the way we live, conduct ourselves, and general life philosophies are very different. We no longer stay in the same area and generally keep in contact through the phone. I still care for her, but sometimes when we speak or when I do see her, I leave feeling annoyed and exhausted.

This is not a romantic relationship, so I don't feel the need to have a face-to-face conversation about where our friendship is headed. I always want to be there for her, but I feel as of now, my needs as a friend are not being met. I no longer share some of the biggest parts of my life with her. She still sees me as if I'm the girl I was in junior high. Even when I confront her about it, she sort of just pushes reality under the rug. How do I begin to loosen the ties?

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Bubbles12 Bubbles12 5 years
"This is not a romantic relationship, so I don't feel the need to have a face to face conversation about where our friendship is headed." Ten years is longer than most romantic relationships. Why would you treat this as a less important relationship and not give her the respect of a conversation, you're probably annoying her too! You might be drifting apart now, but in another ten years you might really want her in your life again because your life for sure will change over and over and at this point you have no idea how much or how. So I'd talk to her about just not feeling as close because of new differences in the way you view life and being uncomfortable with some of the things she says as a result -- does she feel the same way about you? And see what she says. Maybe it's a friendly agree to disagree and keep in touch with the random phone call and Christmas cards -- the time honored way of allowing time to pass and then to be able to reconnect. Just don't go all 'confrontational' on her, think REALLY long term. It's amazing how people come in and out of your life.
steph1234 steph1234 5 years
Everyone goes through this type of situation. It is odd because my husband and I were just talking about this very same thing last night regarding some old high school friends that can't seem to let go. First off, if you are feeling awkward, then chances are she is too. Maybe she is just trying to ignore it. Truth is, though, people change and move on. Friendships don't always last. Doesn't mean you left with hard feelings, but if it's not working, don't force it. I think you know this friendship is not working out. So since you say you mainly talk via phone...stop calling. Leave the calling to her...It's nice to have conversations occasionally, but don't feel obligated because of the fact you two grew up together. Move on with your thankful for the good memories you had with her...I believe people are put in our paths for a season. They are not always meant to hang around forever.
passion8 passion8 5 years
wow, very well said,going thru something similar i wish i would have been able to clearly express myself as well as you did. the part that stick outs for me is my needs are not getting met and i walk away anoyed or exhausted. i think all people in a relationship at one point or another have felt this way, there is a really good quiz you guys can do together while talking on the phone its at and click on single and then discuess your results and compare similars and differences and talk about how as friends you guys can meet each other needs, i have done this with some of my closest friends and it has worked out well just yesterday fyi, my love language is acts of service and quality time so a good friend of mine invited me over to learn a new recipee and it was a blast and we both walked away feeling full not empty.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 5 years
I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time, growing out of touch with friends can be painful, especially when you've been friends for such a long time. A similar thing happened to me recently, In college I was best friends with this girl and we were practically inseparable, she was even MOH at my wedding, yet after that the friendship started tapering off. She moved far away, I started a family so we're now in totally different life situations. While I still love her and talk to her every so often, I realize that we can never be friends in the way we were anymore because we both need different things in a friendship. I believe that this is actually a common occurance among friends. No rift has taken place, yet you see yourself drifting apart and have no idea why. I believe this is because that as people mature and their life situations change, their needs for their relationships also change. It sounds as if you need a different kind of support/friendship now from your friend than you did before, something she may not be able to give or help you with and that is what's leaving you frustrated. Perhaps you've grown and she's stayed the same or you've both changed and grown apart. I like how you say you still care for her and would still like to be in touch because I think that's important, after all you've known her for about 10 years. Yet I also think that it's now time to explore what you're looking for in a friendship, as well as potential friendships with those who might be able to support you where you are now. It's still never easy, but it does happen. I wish you the best.
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