You're Allowed To Outgrow Friends.
You’re allowed to outgrow friends. It’s part of life. It’s probably one of my least favorite parts of life, but it’s a part of life nonetheless. Every time I write one of these, I try my hardest to not sound condescending, but the truth needs to be brought to light since everyone wants everything sugar-coated these days. You’re not going to get that here.
As unfortunate as it is, at one point or another, you are going to outgrow a friend or two. Interests change, paths lead different directions, maturity levels may begin to differ, or someone might start doing some sketchy shit that you don’t want to be associated with. It’s perfectly okay to disassociate yourself from anything that makes you uncomfortable.
I’ve had more than a few good friends turn to strangers over the past decade or so, and it sucks. I want to be very clear that I’m in no way trying to say that none of them were my fault. On numerous occasions I’ve let conversations with people die out due to our interests changing and being tired of feeling like I’m the only one putting effort toward the friendship. I’m sure people have done the same with me. No harm, no foul.
It gets a little bit more complicated when you are quite literally outgrowing someone around you. I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t want to grow up. I do everything I can to have as much fun as possible. You can have fun and be a kid at heart all while also growing up and taking on adult responsibilities. I’ve grown apart from some of the best friends I’ve ever had simply because they’re stuck in the same mindset that we had when we were 15-16 due to nobody holding them accountable for their actions, while enabling the situation.
Making the conscious decision to walk away from anything you are not comfortable with can sometimes be difficult, but many times for the best. If you compromise your standards to put up with any kind of bullshit that you aren’t okay with, you’re never going to be happy. You’ll always have the thought in the back of your mind, because you know it’s not truly what you believe. Your comfort and happiness should come before any friendship, job, or situation. Period. Sometimes people around you make shitty decisions. You can easily fall into the same path by hanging out with the wrong people, and it can very easily ruin your life, be it substance abuse, poor financial choices, or legal trouble.
Walking away from various friendships, be they toxic or just stagnant, does not need to be a dramatic ordeal. You don’t need to drag the other party, or have any animosity toward them. You can be civil, you can check in on them and remain in contact, it just might not be as frequent as it once was. It’s a simple concept. It’s being a mature adult. Part of growing up is moving on. Friendships evolve and grow and fade.
My circle mostly consists of friends I've had since I was like 10, and a very, very solid group I've met since moving to Pittsburgh. I've moved on from friendships due to the various scenarios above, but it's really helped me find myself, find better friends, and focus more energy on the great friendships that I already had.
I hope this may help someone reevaluate the way they’re handling their situation and handle it more maturely than they might have prior to reading.
You come first.
Make this life what you want it to be, don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, or what they think of you. Stand up for yourself, demand respect, and don’t let anyone hold you back. Just because they were a good friend at one point, doesn’t mean they’ll always have your best interest in mind. The devil was once an angel.