Having friends makes life more bearable and exciting. They are there when you need a shoulder to cry on or want to discuss fan theories about the latest drama in a Netflix show. Besides family members and significant others, the companionship of friends can help a person navigate through challenging events, savor the simplest experiences, and shoo away feelings of loneliness and isolation. They are also the ones who you can go to for advice, whether it’s for the matters of the heart or choosing the best reverse logistics system for your business. Friends have your back, no matter the situation.
One of the amazing aspects of friendship is its voluntary nature. It’s up to individuals if they want to be friends with people they initially don’t know. They are free in deciding if they wish to deepen the relationship or leave when things get toxic. This is different from familial bonds, where you don’t have a choice from the start. Breaking away from the family is also difficult due to financial and emotional concerns. Blood is thicker than water, after all.
However, as people live their lives and pursue other interests, friendships can also change. You might find yourself unable to relate with high school friends during reunions. Different paths and responsibilities have changed your perception and hobbies, which other people might not understand. You try hard to get back into the groove and deepen the bonds, but you soon realize that it’s time to say goodbye.
Why do we outgrow some friendships?
The voluntary nature of friendships can be a double-edged sword. As there are no formal structures to describe friendship, it’s more affected by the flow of circumstances. During childhood, it’s easier to make friends because there are fewer responsibilities to deal with. People are also less secure with their personalities that anyone can be a friend, whether it’s the kid next door or a random classmate in school. There are also fewer expectations to fulfill when you are dubbed as someone’s friend.
As people grow up, though, friendship takes a different meaning. It takes more effort to meet up and hang out as different priorities battle with each other. Ohio University Professor William Rawlins call this friendship’s phenomenon of ‘being in tension with the reality of people’s lives.’ The current circumstances of a person’s life might not be in sync with their old friends. This makes it possible for people to drift apart and meet new friends who are in the same boat as them.
What makes a friendship last?
Not all old friendships are doomed to fail. They can survive when all the parties make an effort to maintain strong connections, even if it’s complicated. Dedication and communication are the keys to long-lasting adult friendships. Even if friends don’t meet as often as in the past, they are secure in knowing that they have each other’s back in times of difficulties. They know that their emotions are reciprocated. This type of equal exchange is what makes a friendship continue throughout the test of time.
Outgrowing friendships is a part of life as people try to find the path they’re comfortable walking on. There will always be others who you can befriend that are on the same journey. But if you’re the stubborn type, old friendships will last with hard work and effective communication.