You only get together when you’re drunk
If the focus whenever you see your pal is always centered on alcohol, hangovers and hazy memories, it doesn’t necessarily make that person your friend. Take away all of the booze and go and see them sober – you may be surprised at how little you have to talk about. Some people we spend time with out of pure habit. If this is the case, and you’re bored of the endless Saturday nights out drinking, you may have simply outgrown your drinking pal.
They only speak to you when they need something
Weeks, or even months go by with nothing but radio silence. Then – ding! – your phone lights up and it’s that specific friend, asking you for a favor… again. There’s nothing wrong with helping your friends, of course, but if it’s a constant one-way relationship, you should ask yourself why your friend is constantly needing your help. Perhaps you’re in different parts of your life, and you’re moving on from them.
They’re always involved in drama
You know the friend: The one who’s always complaining about so-and-so from work, or their ex from two years ago, or the delivery man not dropping off their parcel. They might drag you into their drama, too, involving you in petty squabbles that are somehow never, ever, their fault. If you’re seeking a drama-free, peaceful life, and they’re still picking fights with anyone and everyone, it’s a pretty big indicator that you’re growing up and moving on.
You feel drained after spending time with them
If you get back from your coffee date and feel the need to take a lengthy break from your pal, it could be time to cut the cord. It may be that you’re always left feeling deflated, defeated, or depressed after spending an afternoon with them – a pretty big indicator that you’re stepping into a different part of your life – one that probably won’t include them. It’s a harsh reality, but energy never lies.
You have nothing in common anymore
Life is filled with constant change, and that goes for friendships, too. Just because you were once good friends who could talk for hours about anything and everything, doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Sometimes, priorities simply change. If you find you can’t relate to each other – even on a basic level – it’s a clear sign that your lives are no longer aligned.
Making plans feels like a lot of effort
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you should look forward to meeting up with your friends – they’re your chosen family, after all. If you roll your eyes whenever you get an invitation from your pal, mute their chat constantly, or flake out on plans at the last minute, it’ll be worth re-evaluating their place in your life. Having friends should be fun, not hard work!
They’re an option, not a priority
Whether you know it or not, you may be keeping a friend around as a backup. You could be treating them as an option to fall back on, as opposed to a priority of someone you actually want to spend time with. Take a look at where this person sits amongst your other relationships. Do you truly value them, or are you scared that if you cut them loose, you’ll be lonely? A friend outgrowing you is a tough pill to swallow, but the kindest thing to do is be honest about it, rather than just stringing them along.
You always complain about them
We all like a good moan, but if you find that you’re constantly complaining about your friend every time their back is turned, you might have outgrown their company. Friends are here to enrich our lives, not dampen them. You don’t have to be friends with people you don’t like! If you’re always criticizing a pal, do you even like them? If the answer is no, then maybe you should cut them loose.
All you talk about is the past
There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about good memories with good friends. It is a problem, however, if that’s all you do. Life is about moving forward and making new memories, not staying in a place – physically or mentally – where you don’t belong. Besides, there are only so many times you can repeat the same tale time and time again before the conversation runs dry.
You don’t feel supported by them
Support is vital in friendships – giving and receiving. If they never make time for you, never listen to what you have to say, or never pick up their phone, you might be giving more support than you’re getting back. This is especially important during the lows in your life. It’s easy to celebrate someone else’s successes, but the sign of a true friend is one who’ll pick you up when you’re down. If you don’t feel like this is the case anymore, you’re probably growing emotionally – and it’s high time to reassess where this person sits in your life.
Your sense of humor has changed
The things the two of you laughed about now make you cringe. If you spend time with a pal and all you see are immature tendencies where there were once joyous giggles, it might be because your sense of humor has done a 180. It happens, we’re forever changing, including what makes us laugh – and who we want to spend time with.
You don’t understand each other
On a fundamental level, you may just not understand your friend’s point of view anymore. They could consistently make choices you can’t wrap your head around, or say things that seem completely out of character. Growing apart is a sad thing to experience, but it’s just a fact of life.
You’re always walking on eggshells
If you’re always biting your tongue or holding back your true thoughts around a specific friend, it’s time to let them go. Friendships are supposed to be a safe space where you’re free to be yourself. If you’re constantly worried about how they’ll react to your words, the bond may have run its course.
Conversations are full of small talk
If your hangouts are always filled with awkward silences and comments about the weather, your buddy may not be the close pal you think they are. Desperately trying to think of conversation topics while avoiding small talk is a clear indicator that you’re outgrowing their company.
You change when you’re around them
Maybe you revert back to your 15-year-old self when you’re around your friend, constantly cracking immature jokes. Perhaps you end up falling into their gossipy ways, forever slagging off your social circle. Whatever it may be, if they drag out parts of yourself that you don’t like, the time has come to give them the cold shoulder.
You hide things from them
Keeping secrets from your pals is a big red flag that the friendship is coming to an end. Whether it’s because you worry about their reaction or you simply don’t trust them, if you don’t feel like you can be completely open and honest with your friend, it’s probably time to put an end to that chapter.
They’re jealous of you
Jealous friends are the worst kind. If you’re wisening up to their toxic ways, only just starting to notice their little jabs of jealousy, you may be outgrowing the friendship. We get used to the negative habits of others, but as we grow and mature their negative tendencies can become all the more prevalent.
You forget to share big news with them
If you get a promotion and tell everyone you know except for that one friend, it’s likely not a coincidence. Subconsciously, you may already be pushing them away, knowing that they don’t have a place in your life anymore. Listen to your gut – nine times out of ten it’s right on the money.
They stop you from unlocking your true potential
If you feel like your friend is holding you back, they probably are. If they give you rubbish advice, telling you not to take that job or not to go on that date, they’re likely just trying to keep you down on the same level as them, stifling your true potential.
You never hang out one-on-one
If you can only bear to see one of your pals when you’re in a group setting, you might be starting to outgrow the friendship. One-on-one time is precious when it comes to developing our bonds, so if you’re forever trying to bring other people along to avoid a more intimate setting, it’s worth looking at why that may be the case.
You don’t miss them or think of them
Perhaps the biggest giveaway that you’ve outgrown a friendship is that you don’t miss them. Months and months go by and you don’t wonder how they’re doing, nor think to reach out to organize a catch-up. If you’re perfectly content without them in your life, there’s probably a reason why.
It’s always their way, all of the time
Perhaps you’ve spent years always doing what they wanted, forever meeting on their terms, without it bothering you. As you’ve grown older, however, it might be pinging up jolts of annoyance. If this is the case, your personality types have likely changed and the friendship may no longer be feasible.
You wouldn’t befriend them if you met them now
Ask yourself: Would I still want to befriend this person if I met them now? If the answer is no, this would clearly suggest that you have outgrown the relationship. Friendships always change and evolve, but not everyone you meet has to stay in your life forever, and that’s okay.
You don’t see them in your future
When you look to the future, what do you see? Do you see yourself still hanging out with the same group of pals you’ve had since high school, or do you think that they’ll no longer fit into your life? As difficult as these thoughts may be to address, they’re an important sign of self-growth.
All they do is complain
Complaining, gossiping and moaning are all low-energy habits. If you dread speaking to your pal for fear they’ll engage in an endless tirade of critiques, you might be outgrowing their company. It’s impossible to be positive all of the time, but if your buddy’s primary personality trait is complaining, consider if you really want them in your life moving forward.
You make excuses to avoid seeing them
“I’m too busy this week”, “I promise we’ll hang out another time”, and “something’s just come up” are all staple excuses of getting out of spending time with someone. If these are constantly in your vocabulary and you’re always bailing out on your pal, you’re only avoiding the inevitable. Let the relationship go.
You’ve both changed
People change. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes massively. Personalities aren’t set in stone, they grow and develop as we grow older. If you’re feeling a sense of distance from your friend, it’s probable that your personalities no longer align. It’s nothing personal, it’s just one of those things.
You have different priorities
Our priorities are always changing. If, say, you’re focusing on your new career or raising your newborn but your pal’s top priority is still where he’s going to drink at the weekend, you’re naturally going to drift apart. True friends understand when priorities shift, and fake friends will slowly fall to the wayside.
You only see them out of habit
Friday lunchtime comes around and you roll your eyes as you go to meet your friend for your weekly coffee date, preparing to be bored for the next three hours. If you’re spending time with someone out of habit as opposed to actually enjoying their company, it’ll be beneficial to reassess the relationship.
You avoid introducing them to your other pals
If you’re forever keeping your friend at a distance, never introducing them to anyone else in your life, there may be a deeper reason at play. Deep down, you probably know that they’re a destructive person, and you don’t want your other friends to witness your toxic friendship.
They don’t celebrate your success
If your friend never celebrates your wins in life, it’s best to leave them be – they’ll only try to drag you down. They could find fault in everything you do, even the good, consistently trying to one-up you in every aspect of your life. Cut them loose and find a tribe that uplifts you instead of dragging you down.
You’re more focused on your goals
The path of self-improvement can sometimes be a lonely one. If your friends don’t understand why you’d rather go to the gym than spend an evening getting drunk, you’re likely leveling up. For something new to come in, something has to be left behind. In this case, it could be your current friend group.
You crave new connections
The best thing about outgrowing old friends is that it opens up doors to make new connections. You need to honor your own needs – and if ditching negative friends you’ve mentally surpassed to make more wholesome friendships is something you’ve been craving, then go for it.
You clash over your principals
We don’t all have to agree on everything – variety is the spice of life, after all. There does, however, need to be a basic level of respect when it comes to your opinion. For example, if your male friend is constantly making misogynistic remarks, and as a woman you feel disrespected, the best course of action is to end the kinship.
They’re holding onto a grudge
You had an argument six months ago and your pal is still giving you the cold shoulder, no matter how many times you’ve apologized. If this sounds familiar, you’ve likely matured beyond the friendship’s capacity. Good friends leave the past in the past; they don’t weaponize it to punish unfavorable behavior.
You’ve realized they’re actually toxic
Sometimes, it’s simple: You wake up one day and realize the close companion you’ve had for years is actually just straight-up toxic, through and through. Whether it’s because of the constant lies, endless arguments or incessant disrespect, the best thing to do is to cut them out.
They’re never present with you
If your friend is more interested in texting their other pals rather than basking in your company, are they truly valuing you? If rather than engage in a proper conversation they focus more heavily on scrolling through Instagram the entire time they’re with you, they may be the type of person you’re outgrowing, little by little.
They haven’t matured or changed
If it’s always the same old conversations, repeated immature jokes or similar issues they’ve had for a decade, your friend might have mentally plateaued. Everyone grows at their own pace, but if your pal seems like they’ve reached their emotional peak, they’re unlikely to bring much positive change into your life.
Other people point out the red flags
Friends and family may always be pointing out your friend’s red flags, while you’re forever making excuses about their behavior. If this is the case, the writing is on the wall – you’re better off without them. Take a moment to properly analyze the relationship, and see if it’s truly serving your highest good.
They never make time for you
If you’re constantly reaching out only to be met with silence, it’s high time to leave the friendship in the past. There’s no sense in putting forth the effort if you’re receiving nothing back. Invest in yourself and in others who support you, and leave such dead-end relationships in your rear view mirror.