9 Signs You're Drifting Away From Your Friend & How To Know If You Should Try To Fix It
It seems like a healthy, fun friendship can seriously cure anything. But when you and a friend slowly start to drift away from each other, it could mean the friendship is coming to an end — and that sucks. There could be plenty of reasons you're growing apart from your buddy: maybe you've outgrown them or there are some trust issues that can't be resolved. Either way, having a friendship end is not ideal, but sometimes, it just needs to happen for you to grow and experience new ventures in your life.
"There are many reasons why drifts take place: from a move/relocation to a friend getting married and/or having a baby to simply being busy. Friendships ebb and flow so any change or life event can cause some type of drift (big or small). Sometimes we may not even notice the drift until we realize we haven't seen or talked to that friend in a while," says author of Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Nicole Zangara, LCSW, in an interview with Bustle over email.
The truth is, people will come and go out of your life and you can learn so much from each of those relationships. However, if you feel like you're growing apart from a current friend, here are nine signs you might be right.
1. You Spend Less Time Together
While you don't have to hang out with your buddy all the time, you no longer care to give an effort to do so — heck, you don't even remember what their face looks like or what's going on in their life. (OK, not that dramatic). "You two don't talk as much anymore or the calls/texts/emails become less frequent. Maybe you used to get together at least once or twice a month and now the get togethers are every couple of months. It just depends on how often you see/talk to each other and what the norm for the friendship is — every friendship will be different in that aspect," says Zangara.
2. You Don't Reach Out To Them As Often As You Used To
Let's be real: just liking your friend's Instagram post doesn't count. If you don't remember the last time you actually had a conversation with them, then you might want to re-evaluate the friendship."The communication becomes less frequent and/or you're not talking as much (phone calls used to be a good 20 minutes and now they're five). It just depends on the nature of your friendship and what is normal for that friendship. Maybe you're the one who usually reaches out to schedule a coffee date, but you've stopped doing that. The more you back away, the more the distance of the drift." says Zangara.
3. There Are More Negative Interactions Than Positive
You might be drifting apart from your friend if you feel like nothing positive is coming out of the friendship, especially if they constantly disappoint you, complain, or belittle you. If that's the case, you want to say buh-bye to that friendship anyways to use that energy for something more awesome. "Research shows that healthy relationships need a positivity/negative ratio of 5:1, meaning that we need five deposits in our love banks for every withdrawal. When our friendships start feeling more draining or exhausting, we can often start pulling away. If we are harboring feelings of frustration, annoyance, or obligation — chances are high that unless they are intentionally addressed, your desire to stay engaged will start to drift apart," says founder of GirlFriendCircles.com Shasta Nelson in an interview with Bustle over email.
4. You're Holding Things Back
A great friendship relies on being vulnerable with one another. So it's natural for someone to drift away from a friend if they hold things back and just have a surface-level relationship. "If we sense ourselves holding back from sharing things about our lives — that’s often a sign that something isn’t feeling safe in the friendship," says Nelson.
5. You Feel A Disconnect Between You And Your Friend
Sometimes that strong blood-sister/brother bond you once had with your bestie is no longer there. You don't know why, but you feel like you don't know who your friend is anymore. And even though you feel this way, you don't have a desire to fix it. "It might be that we don’t feel like she’d interested in our lives, or that the time together is too rushed, or that we’re afraid of feeling judged. If we catch ourselves clamming up, or sense that she is, then the friendship is at risk of either plating or drifting apart because all of us ultimately want to be seen and accepted by our friends," says Nelson.
6. You Feel Tense When You're Around Them
When you hang out with a friend, you want to feel accepted. It doesn't make sense to be in a LTF (long-term friendship) with someone if you no longer feel like yourself when you're around them. According to the Huffington Post, professor of psychiatry at the New York University Langone School of Medicine Irene S. Levine, PhD said, "You used to feel so relaxed — whether sharing intimacies over the phone, talking over coffee or just being together saying nothing. Now your stomach is in knots each time you meet. You feel tense because you can’t be yourself and have to watch your words."
7. Your Lives Have Changed
It's completely normal for you or your friend to change. Over the course of your friendship, you both grew and discovered yourselves. But sometimes that means people grow in different directions. "Maybe your life has changed (going from single to dating, getting married and/or having a baby) and your priorities shift from your friends to your own family. It's not good or bad, it just happens, so it's important to be aware of these changes," says Zangara.
8. Your Life Has Become More Important Than The Friendship
If you truly want to make a friendship last, you need to invest in it. Text them a heart emoji, reply to one of their Instagram posts, or maybe — brace yourself — give them a call. But if you allow your life to take precedent over the friendship (i.e. by making excuses to hang out with them), then that might be a sign that you're drifting away from your friend. "It often starts off unconsciously, but friendships where we don’t keep up with each other will be susceptible to drifting apart. This can happen when we move or change jobs — even if we swear we want to stay in touch, or it can happen when we feel squeezed in a too-busy schedule. The big question in these moments is to be aware of our choice: do we want to stay connected to this person right now and invest the time it will take or do we feel peace with letting distance show up right now?" says Nelson.
9. You Harbor Your Feelings Instead Of Fixing The Relationship
You know a friendship is over when you have no desire to fix it. You rather hold things back because you feel like it's pointless to address the issue than reconnect with a friend over coffee. "If we are harboring feelings of frustration, annoyance, or obligation — chances are high that unless they are intentionally addressed, your desire to stay engaged will start to drift apart," says Nelson.
While it's not the end of the world if you drift away from a friend, it's not really something you want to celebrate. But if you feel like you're not invested in your friend as you once were or you constantly hold things back when you're around them, then it might be time to either re-evaluate the friendship or do an Irish goodbye.
Images: Pexels; Bustle