Are You Outgrowing Your Friends?

Are you finding that you don’t like your friends anymore, or that something doesn’t feel right?

If you’re into personal growth, you will at some point outgrow some or all of your friends. The sooner you can accept it, the easier it’ll be.

Your friends may object and ask you why you’re abandoning them, but there’s not much you can do. The signs are obvious.

Your friends create their own reality, and if they choose to create the feeling of abandonment, it is up to them. It’s not a lot of fun, but they will get over it.

It can get lonely while you’re transitioning from one group of friends to another. You’ll wish that you could go back to the way things were. Friendship is like that.

Everything seems so much easier when you selectively pick out memories from the past. You might even try to go back for a while, but it won’t feel quite right.

The longer you try to resist your growth, the harder it’ll be to hang on. You will start feeling more and more disconnected from your current group of friends and drawn in another direction.

It’s not that you’re suddenly better than your friends. Look at it more as if you’re at the train station, jumping on trains going to different destinations.

As you keep growing you will literally move into another wavelength, which is why your connection to your friends is fading.

There’s always going to be that sense of obligation, of staying true to your friends, but you also have to stay true to yourself. Sometimes you just have to move on. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet up with some of your old friends down the road.

Social Conditioning

You’ve been conditioned. I’ve been conditioned. We’ve all been conditioned. The truth of the matter is that you have no obligation to anyone.

The only obligation you have is to yourself. What this means is up to you. You can’t keep doing what doesn’t feel absolutely right, because it will end up making you miserable.

A touchy subject is family. If you don’t vibe with your family members, you don’t have to be with them. You may hang out with them around the holidays, but other than that, why would you?

While this may sound harsh, it’s the truth. Listen to your heart. It requires courage and no one says it’s easy all the time, but in the end, it is the right path to travel.

Trusting Yourself

You can let everything unfold at the pace you desire. Fast or slow, it’s up to you. Let go of any emotions that are holding you back and accept the situation you are in.

Let your feelings and heart guide you when it comes to making decisions. If you don’t feel like an activity you used to do with your friends no longer excites you, don’t do it. If something else still seems cool, do it. It’s simple.

Listen to yourself instead of your friends. It’s up to you to play out your own life.

What future do you want?

It’s always easier to let someone else call the shots, but it doesn’t lead to happiness.

Learning Process

Every person in your life is there for a reason. In the end you have to ask yourself what feels right for you.

You may feel obligated or bad about cutting your friends loose, but if you’re not 100% happy with where you are and who you are spending your time with, it’s time for change. It’s time to look for a new social circle.

It takes courage, but sooner or later it has to be done. You can always opt for a comfortable life of complacency, but who in their right mind really wants that deep down?

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  1. Hey Henri!

    Yeah man I can totally relate to this. The thing is, when you are small you are put in a school with a bunch of people. You make friends with these people because you are around them, not necessarily because they are similar to you.

    Since I finished school and ventured out into the real world I’ve lost touch with pretty much all my old friends, simply because I cannot relate to them any more. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, growth is good and I like my journey, so friends will come and go, but real friends that align with you will always stay.

    Have an awesome week!

    • I don’t think it’s bad either. It is just something that happens. When you find those true lifetime friends, it’s awesome.

  2. Archan Mehta says:


    Great post, as usual. May the force be with you, Luke Skywalker…

    I’ve had my fair share of good times. As a party animal, I used to socialize with a bunch of different people. I guess you could describe me as a ‘social butterfly.’

    I danced the night away. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything. Let me tell you why. The problem with being a socialite: you tend to invest a lot of time, money and energy in people. And then it becomes really difficult to get your work done.

    Dancing the night away is well and good, but it also means sleeping through the day. By contrast, you can get a lot of work done by waking up early in the morning. And get cracking before the crack of dawn. After all, the early bird catches the worm.

    There’s a time and place for everything under the sun. There are also limits. So, if you want to move ahead (progress), you’ve got to stop buying the ladies free drinks and dance with them to the beat of salsa music or heavy-duty rock and roll.
    You’ve got to stop bar-hopping with Pedro. And you’ve got to say “no” to Jen, who wants to invite you over to her Sorority for a kegger and the DJ on request.

    Yes, now I have better things to do, so my friends have things to say about it. They don’t like my change of demeanor. They make sarcastic comments behind my back, which travels to my ear through the grapevine. But I have outgrown them all and fallen in love with work. Work is what drives me now, that is, getting things done.

    So you get called names. So you get categorized. So you get labeled. So what?
    “To thine own self be true,” wrote Shakespeare. You can’t be all things to all people and you can’t please others all the time. Yes, now my friends laugh at me (I have a large social circle). I have been called, “Mr. Hermit” and “Mr.recluse.” Some of my friends have even questioned my existence, that is, whether I am still around.

    In my new avatar–no pun intended there, I have not seen the movie yet, folks–I have discovered that work has brought me joy: work gives me a sense of fulfillment.
    And if I ever get bored, I can always go back to my former glory? My friends will be only glad to welcome me with open arms, but I don’t think so. Cheers!

  3. Jennifer Hart says:

    I can definitely relate and seem to have gone thru several transitions where I couldn’t relate to friends anymore. I think that is one of the reasons I moved – going to the next level and leaving everything I knew. It’s can be challenging, but like you said, you gotta trust your self and follow your heart. It’s great to see a post about this because it confirms that others have gone thru it as well and I’m not alone. Thanks Henri!

    • Plus, it’s exciting and fun to finally move on and be okay with moving into the unknown!

  4. @Henri: I’ve been through this exact experience when I got into personal development. People who had been friends started to abandon me because they felt I was changing and I was taking risks that they felt were too embarrassing. Most of them haven’t really evolved as people and 5 years later I don’t regret that decision one bit.

    The challenge for most people is that they know that they can control what is happening and the fact that you are changing forces them to accept responsibility for their lives. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to do that. It’s easier to just blame it on fate and say this is what was meant to happen. But that’s just an excuse. Trusting yourself is ultimately what leads you down the right path.

    • Sometimes people want to take another path. In the beginning, I had a hard time accepting that, because I wanted to bring everyone with me. It’s much easier to let people be who they are and let things unfold.

  5. So true. So hard. I’m in the process of letting go of a couple of long time good friends. I know that I don’t have a choice- can’t, don’t want to spend time w them anymore. 🙁

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think it’s a given your friends have to change or that you “outgrow your friends”. In fact, as you grow, you learn to relate to people more and have harmony and connection more and more, not less and less.

    • Oh yes, definitely. That happened to me as well, but I also started feeling pulled in other directions and “outgrow” is the best term that describes it for me. You may be different, but in the end I think we all mean basically the same thing.

  7. Armen Shirvanian says:

    Hi Henri.

    You’ve got some relevant material here. It doesn’t make any sense to hold onto someone who is not uplifiting you in your efforts in some way. I don’t know where the advice originally came from to maintain unbalanced relationships, but you are right that drifting away is just fine, and nothing to feel guilty about.

    Every successful person I have seen runs their own show. They only spend time with those who are a good fit. Staying with those who are no longer a good fit is like continuing to wear a shirt even though your body size has changed and it doesn’t fit properly anymore.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Be picky about your friends. If they aren’t there to uplift and support, why hang around them? We have to be realistic when it comes to what kind of life we want to live and how we want to feel.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Armen!

  8. Carrie @ Make Mine Happen says:

    Get out of my head!

    On Saturday I talked about this subject with my husband. I was momentarily lamenting the friends that I “outgrew” because of proximity (I moved away), commonality (we were friends because we went to school together and lived close, nothing much more), and for lack of a better word, morality (my thoughts on life, love and faith have all changed since high school).

    I regret that I cannot enjoy what is special about my former friends any longer, but I cherish the good memories that I have. Occasionally I desire to relive “the good ole’ days,” but I know that TODAY brings with it much hope, love and new friends.
    We grew up singing the school rhyme, “Make new friends, but keep the old / One is silver, the other gold,” but I think that they’re all golden… for different reasons.

    • Funny how coincidental things are sometimes, eh? 😉

      It’s always fun to be a little bit nostalgic and think of the past. But there will come a time when you think back and think of the life you’re living right now.

  9. Marcus Valdes says:

    I think the age of the poster and some of the readers are showing here. I am only 40 but I can say that I now realize that you never outgrow true friends. Sure, some will go by the wayside, but the really good ones stand the test of time.

    • Heya Marcus! I do agree that there are some friends that are friends for life, but I also believe that sometimes you do not find those friends right away. It all depends on your life circumstances and all the other variables that come into play.

  10. I literally outgrow my child hood friends when I matured and grew up much faster than they did. I did my best to help them move into the world of adult hood where I had an edge, but it wasn’t meant to be. As a result now, my circle of friends is very small but I don’t really notice because my wife and kids are all I need.

  11. You don’t know how amazing it is to hear some-one else say this. I have gone through 3 distinct periods of “outgrowing” and currently in the start-up phase again and it is really difficult – both the ending and the beginning.
    I have done 2 extended stints overseas and at the end of the first one it was really comforting to get home and discover nothing had changed. My friends were the same and I slotted in as if I’d never left. Now I’m back overseas (I enjoy my comfort zone until I feel that it becomes restrictive) and I’m not sure what I’m going to go home to as on this trip I’ve changed and I’ve grown apart from my friends.
    I agree that true friends are friends for life, but they are rare so hang onto them when you find them.

  12. What an insightful post Henri. I think most of us have to deal with this at some point in our lives. This happened to me a couple of years ago and I found it really tough but now with the benefit of hindsight I can see that as you said, we were just catching trains in different directions. One thing that really sticks out for me is ‘obligation’. When a friendship becomes an obligation, I think there is something missing.

    • Yeah, I’m allergic to obligations. Whenever something starts to feel like an obligation, it’s time to ask why.

  13. Hey Henri,

    This is something I think about a lot. I have definitely experienced this in my life, although I have been fortunate that many of my best friends have grown over time, improved and continued to grow in similar directions to me

    It’s always difficult for me to let go of friendships, and generally I don’t lose touch completely – but I definitely do fade further and further away.

    • I’ve found that many of my friendships are more cyclical than anything else. Also with the internet, it’s so easy to keep in touch. But many do fade away after a while when you have nothing in common.

  14. Hi Henri,
    I think this is a really important point. We go through so many stages in our lives, and we have friends that belong to each of these stages. I came to terms with this a while ago, and while I cherish the experiences I’ve had with past friends, I also recognise that when our time together came to an end it was time for us to move on. A very few friends have remained “true” friends, but even then I see those people infrequently, they tend to come back into my life when I need them and vice versa. I don’t think this concept is sad, on the contrary it’s a sign tha we are progressing!

    • Couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes friends pop out for a while and come back in at a later point.

  15. Hey Henri, I enjoyed the post. It’s inevitable that we all grow and we can grow in different ways, so changing friendships at points in our lives can happen.

    It can be a good thing, but we shouldn’t ever forget about previous friendships and what they taught us about ourselves and about life in general. Then carry the good things learned on to future friendships.

    Friends should be friends, but they should also challenge you to reach higher levels of achievement. And choosing who our friends are is our own personal responsibility.

    I just found this quote that’s not totally related to the topic, but since I liked it, just wanted to share:

    “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” Albert Ellis

    • Exactly. Take the beneficial lessons and remember them. That’s the only way to grow. I love quotes. Thanks for sharing that one!

  16. Tracy Brown says:

    Hi Henri, I saw a link on Twitter that led to your post here. (I think Sid Savara Tweeted it.)

    This is an excellent piece that you wrote, and something that not only have I dealt with personally, but also have talked about with others who have gone through the transition. It’s true that sometimes it can be very hard to step away from friendships that you have actually outgrown. That “comfort zone” of what you already know might seem more safe than stepping out and experiencing the journey by yourself for awhile. But the truth is that your security can be suffocating, and sometimes to really become to person you need to be, you have to risk changing what you know and leaving the past – and some friends – behind. And yes, sometimes that even means family.

    I will make it a point to link to your post in the resources portion of our networking website (I’ll do this tonight) and Tweet it to our followers as well. (We’re on Twitter as @HappinessInside )

    Thanks again for sharing this, Henri. I look forward to your future posts and Tweets!

    Warmest regards,

  17. Hi Henri,

    The worst thing that one can do is to sacrifice their own growth to stick to their friends. Human simply just hate to change.


  18. The first time I have slowly parted ways with my friends I felt guilty and awkward. Perhaps I have been obliged in the past that I should always be in the company of my friends. As I grow more mature, I’m puzzled at why some of my friends stays the same and never venture into the deeper aspects of life. In my search for higher understanding, my friends have slowly noticed my coldness, until the time came when they treat me as an acquaintance. But it doesn’t bother me, in my heart they will always be my friends, and if they need my help I will be there for them. But my search for higher awareness is my ultimate priority, after all, everything shall pass, except the realization of our divine selves. 🙂

    • As I gracefully grow into myself I have also experienced leaving friends behind. Now that I lived a full life I realize that I would have enjoyed keeping a tiny thread of connection with many people who I enjoyed in my life. If we leave friends behind how do we truly know that they haven’t grown in their own lives?

      If we keep a connection with them perhaps we can be a part of helping them in their growth. Who knows perhaps they will help us in our growth. Do we have so much ego to believe that we are truly growing faster than our friends? We may be growing at a different pace that others and in different directions but how can we know if we don’t keep a tiny thread of connection with them.


  19. Hi Henri,

    Thanks very much for this post! For the last couple of months I have the feeling I’m ‘outgrowing’ my friends, which is quite difficult for me sometimes, but it’s good to know that other people have the same problem. Your post makes me realise it’s time for a change!


  20. Wow…..people who understand! I have just realised I am going through the same thing, it dawned on me when I spent yet another miserable day with my negative best friend (who hates French people for no reason, I have recently started dating a French girl haha).

    I am being a bit of a chicken and still meeting up with them now and then. However I never make arrangements and I am forever biting my lip. How did you all “break up” with them?

  21. But Henri, were there times when they wanted to meet up with you? And deep down you don’t want to, because you are aware they are toxic to you?

    • Heya Anthony,

      I wouldn’t use the word toxic, but if someone wants to meet up with you and you don’t want to, just say no. Keeping it simple always works for me 🙂

  22. Hello,

    I came across your post while browsing the Internet, and it just struck me as very relevant to my own life and you have written some very thought-provoking and meaningful words here.

    I have been struggling with a similar situation over the past year. I feel that I’ve grown and evolved in my own life. I do not feel that the party scene is fulfilling. I question if it really ever was fulfilling or just something to pass the time. Some friends, however, are still stuck there and It just does not interest me.

    Another factor in growing apart is that a year ago I moved in with my boyfriend, about a 49 minute drive from most of the friends I hung out with through my college years. I’ve tried inviting them by me but they rarely show up, and then complain when I say no to invitations in the city by them. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe friendship to be a two way street, and if you cannot meet halfway then maybe you’re just growing apart and giving up.

    I feel that ever since I have found the one guy in my life that I truly love and care for and want to spend the rest of my life with, my friends have treated me differently and they blame him for my.not being around, but that is truly not the case. It is my own decision to separate myself because I have different goals and ideals than I did at the age of 21. My idea of fun consists of a nice dinner at hone, a glass of wine and spending time with those I love.

    I have tried my best to invite friends out to activities I enjoy but they turn me down. So now I am at the point where I just want to move forward in life and if I make new friends along the way, so be it. If old friends reappear and we have things in common again that is fine too. I just don’t want to live my life stuck in the past on some hope that things will go back to what they used to be. Evolving requires a recognition that things change, people change, and in order to move forward and be happy with your own life you have to come to terms with that on your own time.

    • Two way street a good friendship is, I agree!

      Sounds like you’re making decisions from a really good place. It’s funny because a few times I’ve drifted away from a few of my friends, but the friendship got back on track again after awhile.

      I don’t like parties either, unless they are relaxed and mellow. Keep doing what feels best, Kelli, because that is all you can do!

      And thanks for leaving such a kick-ass comment 🙂

  23. uuuuuughhhh. Months have past since my last post and i have tried Henri’s advice but I end up meeting up with my “best friend” through another friend often. He gets me so mad with his biggoted ways. I have turned soft because he has a child on the way so I feel obliged :S

    p.s. this site is awesome.

  24. Found this while surfing…i am forcing myself to be friend with this guy, recently his true self was shown , i was dissapointed in him but the friends i made during my search for “popularity” were always my worst friends, i missed out on opportunities to be friends with people i should’ve built with. I kind of make the wrong decisions when it comes to friends all through my life. I have an opportunity to change this and im more aware of what i like and what i dont. A forced friendship is the worst kind out there honestly, and i just want to be happy.

  25. Great post. I needed to hear that. I had learned this to be true, but it took me too long to learn that. The problem with me, and most Chinese people, is that there is a loyalty issue. Being loyal to your family and friends and not abandoning them. When friends call to hang out and I just don’t want to anymore, I feel bad that I have rejected them. I still feel bad. However, I grew a lot being alone and not following my friend’s and family’s interest. The challenge now is to make new friends that share similar interest to mine. This challenge is not easy.

    • Hey Tom,

      I completely relate to the feelings. It’s not easy, but then again, life isn’t easy, it’s fascinating. It’s a mystery to be lived, like savoring a good novel. Go with the flow and notice what happens and what interesting events are around the corner.

      You just never know!

  26. So true. I think I’m in the ending phase with a circle of people I used to hang out with. These same people happen to have graduated with me in college and we kept in touch since we lived in the same area. Long story short, one friend recently moved out of state, one went to law school in the area and one is working full time. I think we just don’t have time to hang out as much anymore. One friend is busy studying (probably hanging out with his study group as well) and the other probably found a new group of people to chill with (possibly her coworkers). For me, well, I’m kinda doing my own thing trying to rebuild my career after being laid off. I tried to call them once every month or so but one doesn’t return my phone calls. So yea, it’s sad but that’s life. These friends of mine can’t relate to me anymore. Maybe that’s why. Everyone’s doing their own thing and kinda drifted apart I guess. It’s really sad because we still live about 20 minutes from each other.

  27. I am in distress. I went through what I like to call a “break-up” with one of my friends MANY years ago and it was a very hard thing to do and she ultimately harbored negative feelings towards me because of it. It’s hard for me to know how to act around a person after I tell them we’ve drifted and I’m starting to feel like our friendship is an obligation rather than a desire. I live five minutes from a friend of mine and for a while we were very close. She is upset because we don’t see each other often anymore, and I don’t know how to tell her I don’t care to be one of her close friends anymore. I don’t want to hurt her, because she is such a sweet person and cares for me, we have just naturally drifted apart. I know that avoiding it will only make me more stressed and confuse her more, but how do I make her feel loved, yet make her understand I don’t want to be her go-to hangout buddy anymore? I don’t want to crush the girl, but I’m starting to feel pulled in different directions, what I want for myself, and what she wants out of our “friendship”. We met through our boyfriends (shes now married, and I’m still with the same guy and they don’t speak anymore either) while she was pregnant and I was basically her only friend through that time and for a few years afterwards. Now I feel like we were thrown together and just clicked, but since I didn’t necessarily “choose” her, I feel like that’s the main reason we’ve drifted. I want to be honest with her, but how can I be honest if I feel like this is wrong or harsh? I have a hard time making someone believe something based solely on MY feelings. Please help!!

    • Hey Evelyn!

      What can I say, it’s an extremely delicate and tricky situation. Anything involving human relationships and feelings isn’t easy.

      I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s all I feel comfortable saying: You have to figure out a way to do what’s best for both of you, and sometimes people just don’t react in the best way when they lose someone they like.

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