Sometimes when we make friendships, we think they will stay the same forever. Now some friendships do stay the same, but most of the time, friendships change. They change for many reasons, but at the base of all these reasons is that people change as life happens, no one stays the same for their whole life. Now some really strong friendships make it through this because the people change and the friendship is strong enough to adapt and grow as the people do. Other times though, this isn’t the case, and friendships end up changing. Now friendships changing can either be a blessing or a really tough experience to go through. It all depends on how and why they change. But either way, as sad as it can sometimes be to see a friendship changing, there are a few ways to deal with these changes so that they don’t completely take over your life and make things horrible. Today, because I’ve had many different kinds of friendships over the years that have changed, especially this year, and have recently made a great friend, I will be talking about why friendships change and how you can deal with those changes. I hope (if you are struggling with a friendship change) that this post gives you good advice and helps you through it. I hope you enjoy it.
Why do friendships change?
Life happens, and situations change
There are many reasons why friendships change, but one of the most common is simply because life happens. When life happens, or circumstances change, people can also change. Now people growing up and changing isn’t a bad thing, but it can have an effect on friendships in different ways. An excellent example of this is moving from high school to university life, or once university is finished and moving into real life. Those are both significant changes in people’s lives and can have quite big effects. I’ve personally experienced this because I recently left high school. I went from seeing my friends every day at school and spending lots of weekends spending time with them, to not seeing them very often because university was a whole new ballpark. They had moved on to the next phase of their life, being exposed to new and different things and meeting new people, busy with a lot more work and I was on a gap year. Things were very different, and this means that our friendships had to adjust. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if friendships change, but it is a common thing. What you need to know is that it is normal and happens a lot and if the friendship makes it through that after all the changes, then you know it is a good one.
You grow apart
Growing apart is another common thing that can happen as people grow up and move on to different phases in their lives. When people grow apart, it just means that they aren’t connecting the way they used to anymore. This can be because you no longer share the same interests, situations have changed, or you have both just grown to have different opinions/outlooks that no longer gel with the other. Growing apart can be an unfortunate thing because it is tough to admit that a friendship has changed in a way that you aren’t as close as you used to be, but sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. Yes, it is never great when a friendship comes to an end, especially if it was a good one. But, by realising that you are growing apart, you can either see if things can be salvaged or if it is better to let it go. Either way, growing apart is also not a bad thing. It is natural and happens to everyone, so don’t let it make you sad.
It becomes toxic
For my previous two points, I know that I have said that it isn’t bad if they happen. However, this is an example where friendships can change in a bad way. Now there are many ways that a friendship can become toxic: constant fighting until you don’t communicate properly anymore; not getting along with each other’s partners or family; you don’t trust each other; you lie to each other regularly and for no reason; you are giving more than you are getting (meaning that you are the only one putting effort in to talk, meet up etc.); you don’t enjoy spending time with each other; you don’t like the person you are when you are with them; you make excuses for them, or you feel used. All these situations are examples of a friendship becoming toxic, and it is horrible to realise that this is the case. This is the only example of a friendship changing where you should consider ending it. Growing apart can be resolved, friendships can adapt to new situations, but if a friendship is becoming toxic, then ending it might be a good idea. Relationships should build you up, not break you down, so as soon as the latter starts happening, you might want to think about severing the tie that is weighing you down. You don’t deserve that negativity in your life, especially in a friendship.
What happens if you happen to be travelling and you form a friendship overseas? Or, you are friends with someone, and one of you happens to move somewhere relatively far away? The friendship will change because of something you certainly can’t control – distance. Distance can change a friendship because you are no longer close enough to just meet up and hang out. Sometimes communicating can even be hard because of time differences. When you lose that proximity with a friend, you can feel things change because you are no longer in the loop. This has been the case for me a few times – one of my best friends moved overseas, my cousin who I was very close with also moved overseas, and I have made friends on my short courses that live all over the world. Distance has and will change these friendships naturally, but again, if a friendship is strong enough, something like distance will not weaken your bond. Your relationship will just adjust to the situation.
How to deal with these changes
Now that we’ve looked at why friendships change, for good or bad reasons and with good or bad results, I’d like to share some advice on how to deal with these changes. Friendships changing can be a tough thing to go through, especially if it has been a good friendship for many years. I’ve gone through some severe friendship changes myself and wish I’d been able to give myself this advice so I would like to share it with you. Even though friendship changes can be strange, and sometimes negative, there are ways for you to get through it and come out intact and not broken or emotionally squished at the end of it.
Think about why it has changed/is changing
The best thing to do if you think your friendship might be changing is to sit down and reflect. Think about why your friendship has changed or is changing. The reason why I say this is because sometimes we are too close to something to see that there might be other factors we haven’t considered. For example, say your friend is not talking to you as much and is acting really distant. You think that there is a problem between the two of you when in fact their parents are fighting a lot, and they are failing tests in school. They just haven’t told you because they feel shy or embarrassed, or simply don’t know how to tell you. By taking a second to think about why a friendship might be changing, you might see that there are things you haven’t considered that are affecting the friendship, and it has nothing to do with the two of you. Try thinking about things first before you jump to conclusions – the whole issue might just be that you didn’t notice something or think about the situation from your friend’s side.
Talk about it
I am a firm believer in open communication and that if two people are willing to sit down and have a reasonable, civilised conversation, then they will be able to get through most problems. Friendship changes are a perfect example where talking about it can be the balm and solution to everything. For whatever reason the friendship is changing, talking about it with your friend could be what fixes everything. Perhaps they didn’t realise that things were changing and you talking to them about it will make them understand it and allow you to sort it out. Perhaps, if there are problems between the two of you, talking will allow you to get everything out in the open so you can move past it. Or maybe, you just haven’t been seeing things from each other’s perspectives and talking will shed light on the situation. This has happened to me countless times where I have assumed things about friendships and then as soon as I speak to my friend about it, and we get everything out, we both realise we’ve just missed something out, and everything is sorted. Talking can solve so many problems so if your friendship is changing and it is a concern for you, then talk to your friend. Most likely having that conversation will be all you need to get things back to where they need to be.
Sometimes the whole issue in dealing with a friendship change is not being able to accept it. Because you have been friends for so long or the change just seems to strange, it is normal to not be willing to accept it because change is hard and I can think of very few people that openly say that change doesn’t bother or scare them in any way. Or, say you have reflected and talked about it, but things still don’t seem to have sorted themselves out, and it looks like the friendship might be ending. Instead of clinging to it and possibly making things unpleasant and negative for your friend and yourself, the best thing to do is accept it. The reason why I say acceptance is key to dealing with friendship changes is that accepting something can be a huge mental relief. Acceptance means you are okay with what is happening, and it allows you to stop letting it drag you down and either move on or start healing. You might not want to accept it sometimes, but once you do (whatever you happen to be accepting) I assure you that you will feel lighter and more at peace with the situation.
Dealing with friendships changing can be tough, so it is crucial to think about yourself (not in a selfish way but rather in a reflective way). Value yourself, your opinions and your time when changes are happening because the worst thing you can do is sacrifice what you believe in to make negative changes go away. Valuing yourself is also crucial because it serves as a reminder of what you think is important and could give you advice to for how best to deal with the changes. By valuing yourself and knowing what is important to you (and by looking after yourself), you will be able to deal with the changes better because you will know whether the changes are for better or for worse. You are your most important ally, and your mental health and happiness is most important so by ensuring that you value yourself and remember who you are, you will stay buoyed and grounded when going through these changes, and be able to see them for what they are and make the choices that are best for you.
One good way to deal with friendships changing is to keep the communication lines open, and I mean this more in the sense of chatting regularly or making arrangements to meet up and be connected rather than my earlier point about simply talking it out. This point is a great way to deal with the changes because it keeps your bond strong. Yes, things might be changing, but that doesn’t mean the friendship has to be weakened as a result. If your friendship has changed because of distance, staying connected is a great way to keep that friendship alive despite the distance between you. If your situations have changed, making plans to meet up or making an effort to chat and catch up is another good way to keep the friendship strong because it shows that even though things are different, you still care enough about each other to want to stay involved in each other’s lives. Change is normal, but making sure that you stay connected is a definite way to ensure that your friendship lasts through the changes.
Meet new people
I know that this suggestion might seem a little strange when it comes to dealing with friendships, but please bear with me before you roll your eyes and think I’ve gone mad. The reason why I say meeting new people is an excellent way to deal with friendships changing is that they expose you to new people and new ideas. Meeting new people might open you up to the opportunity for new friendships, which can always be a positive thing. What it can also do is give you a fresh perspective for looking at your old friendships. By interacting with new people, you might realise that there are aspects of your other friendships that you either appreciate and want to reignite or that you don’t like and need to address. It is surprising to reflect on how differently we behave with different people so meeting new people might shed some light on your old friendships and things you might need to change to improve them or give you advice/insight for how to deal with the changes. Meeting new people always opens my eyes and makes me think about the relationships I already have and sometimes I end up getting the advice I never knew I needed. Maybe meeting new people will do the same for you.
And there you have it. I hope that you all enjoyed this blog post and found at least some of the advice useful. Friendships change all the time, whether it is in a good way or a bad way, and I hope that if you do have friendships changing in whatever way, that this post has been helpful and gave you either some useful advice or just a fresh perspective. For my question of the day:
– Do you have any advice to share for dealing with friendship changes?
– Do you have any interesting stories of friendships changing that, at the end of the day, were a good thing for you?
Thank you all so much for reading this blog post! The support I get from all of you is incredible, and it keeps me motivated whenever I am struggling to come up with a topic or can’t think how to write things. If you enjoyed today’s blog, please don’t forget to click that like button at the bottom of this post and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on future blog posts. Also, if there is anything you want to chat about or suggest a topic that you’d like me to discuss, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or contact me. With all that said, that is all I have for you guys today!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx