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How to Deal With Growing Apart From a Friend

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Perhaps she's the friend you met in high school or your old college roommate; she may be the stay-at-home mom you found in your playgroup who became your go-to person for child-rearing issues. No matter how the friendship came to be, you suddenly realize you are growing apart and the friendship doesn't nurture you in the way it once did. The dissonance may be coming from you, from her or from both of you. You wonder if you should say or do something, let it fade or end the friendship altogether.

Take inventory of your own needs. You may need more from the friendship than your friend is able to give at this time. Maybe you can't nurture the friendship at the same level that you did in the past. For example, if you are both stay-at-home moms and one of you decides to go back to work, the change in lifestyle may contribute to your friendship growing apart. Friendships that are centered around a particular lifestyle, work or activities may fade as you grow and change.

Be honest with your friend and talk about how you feel there may be things that are going on in both your lives that are affecting your friendship. An open conversation may help clear the air and get you back on the path you were on or help you see that it is time to move on. Jan Yager, author of "When Friendship Hurts," believes that when friends grow apart, it can be time to minimize the friendship or end it, because growing apart is natural in most cases.

Avoid reacting in anger, as this can lead to betrayal responses. Yager says that when a friend is unable to take a hint and gradually let a friendship go or wants to maintain the intimacy and closeness you once had and you don't, feelings of rejection can arise. This can lead to telling secrets that had been kept in the past or doing something else to bring a dramatic end to the friendship.

Allow yourself to grieve if your friendship does end. Avoid pondering and ruminating about what went wrong. Unless you know of something specific that you did, accept that you are two different people in two different places right now.

Make new friends and find ways to nurture yourself. Yager notes that friends you grow apart from take your time and energy but fail to nurture you. Put your energy into finding people with whom you can connect based on where you are in your life at this time.

References

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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