How You Navigate A Friend Outgrowing You
This topic is really tough for me to talk about, but I think it’s a conversation worth having. If you’re anywhere near my generation, you’ve heard the saying, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or for the rest of your life,” but what happens when you outgrow that person? What happens when your values, your interests, and your desires part ways from what a friendship can give you?
I’ve seen a lot of relationships suffer during the past year and a half, and part of that is because the pandemic has forced most of us to reevaluate our priorities, causing us to outgrow a lot of our friendships. But what has been interesting to me lately, and what I want to focus on in this conversation, is knowing when a friendship outgrows you and how to let it go.
Yes, it’s important to let certain relationships go so that you may transcend and you may move forward in life. I have had people upset with me because it can feel like I’m leaving them, and it’s just part of personal growth and ascension. It isn’t about hierarchy or being better than anyone, it’s about reconciling with a deeper understanding of yourself and your needs, and with the fact that you must keep moving forward to become the best version of you.
When you move on, you can be met with anger, negativity and sharpness and I certainly have felt that…
It’s a natural part of growth and there can be some collateral damage that comes with it that’s never meant to harm, as much as it might sting. But what I’d like to also dig into is the other side of that coin, which is when someone chooses to let you go. Because I’m experiencing that right now.
I’ve had a very long friendship with someone that has literally felt like family to me, and now I realize that I am the expired friend. That person is choosing not to be friends with me, and it hurts. I have spent months pouring over what could have gone wrong, I’ve reached out to him to ask how he is, I’ve checked in…with no response. After 8 months of asking mutual friends about it and feeling emotional, taking myself through the ringer of what it could have been, I finally came to a sense of peace when I realized that just as I have my own, non-hateful reasoning when I need to let someone go, others are allowed that same choice and that same experience when it comes to moving on from a friendship with me.
This person, for whatever reason, has moved on from me and I finally realized that while I’ve spent this whole time obsessing over why it stopped I have been making it about me. I’ve had to tell myself that it’s not always about me. I need to allow this person the grace to grow just like I want the grace to grow in my life and relationships, too.
I of course miss my friend, and I wish him the best. My door is open if he wants to return. I’m certainly not asking permission to redirect my energy, effort or growth pattern and he doesn’t need that permission either. Just because he’s let me go doesn’t mean I have to be angry or have an answer, but I am sending him light and love and trust in his instinct to move on.
Upon arriving at this place of peace mentally, I find myself smiling for the first time and remembering how special our relationship was. I am honoring it for what it used to be and not what it hasn’t been this last year. If there are any friends like this in your life, or if you’re struggling to let go of someone you love, try to smile about what it used to be instead of lamenting what it can’t be now.
Always in your corner,