Making friends isn’t always that easy, especially as you get older, and especially as many societal “third spaces,” that is the places people like to hang out between their workplace and homes, seem to be more expensive and less open than ever.
For this reason, many people can find it hard to move on from a friend group that may already be established, even if that social situation isn’t as positive and supportive as it could be.
Now, we’re not going to suggest you should drop your friend group at once and move on for any artificial reason, those are your decisions to make and you have better judgment over your situation than we ever could.
That said, it’s also healthy to assess who you spend your time on, and if they reflect that kind of commitment to you as well. In this post, we’ll discuss when it might be time to find a new and better social group or to manage who you spend time on accordingly:
It’s easy to think that you’ll be friends with people forever, and that not being so is a negative issue for you and everyone else. But it’s okay to naturally grow apart too. Recognizing when you and your social circle are growing apart is essential for maintaining your authenticity and well-being sometimes. It’s not anyone’s fault, you just might have different priorities, and life is complex enough.
Signs may include a lack of shared interests, diminishing communication, or a sense of disconnect during gatherings. While it can be disheartening to see these changes take shape, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. It doesn’t mean you have to be dramatic about ending the friendship, but it might mean you focus on others, or seek to befriend those with more in common.
Unnecessary Toxicity Or A Lack Of Support
Unfortunately, conflicts and toxic behaviors can seep into any social environment or group, causing emotional distress and turmoil which can be very harmful. You might put up with this for a little while, but when the negatives outweigh the positives, it’s a clear indicator that change is necessary.
Pay attention to signs of toxicity within your current social environment, especially when you notice a problem. Are you constantly embroiled in disputes or subjected to emotional abuse or sly insults?
Might it be they’re unwilling to accommodate you, such as by treating you differently now you’re a parent, or seem to act strangely now you’re managing a health condition? For example, hearing aids and social life often go hand in hand, but you’ll need those around you to understand your slow acclimation to these life aids and to help you with that, such as by addressing you directly when talking to you so your directional mics can pick the sound up more easily. If your friends rarely offer you this kind of accommodation, it’s good to question who might.
Life can be tough. It can be unfortunate. It can be tragic. No one with any sense would disagree with that. While strong bonds and mutual support through tough times are the pinnacle of what friendship can be, it’s also true to say that dour perspectives, if they are unceasing and neverending, can sometimes make you wonder how the friendship might be affecting you.
Helping a friend with depressive tendencies, lending support to a friend trying to get back on their feet, and doing all you can to help a friend through a tough time is essential. It’s the least we would hope for in return. However, if you notice that after years all of this support you’ve provided is either unwanted, unused, taken for granted and discarded, and there’s never a pleasant moment, it’s more than valid for you to move on. Friendship isn’t solely about the hard times, but about mutual support and looking forward to the future together.
Many people have trouble letting go of friends who can’t offer them that, but ultimately we have to decide how our time is to be spent. It’s good to be around positive people, especially those who invest in you as much as you do them. Friendship isn’t about transactional offerings, but about supporting the other person as you’re being supported. If you can do that, then you’re sure to flourish.
With this advice, you’re sure to see when it’s time to find a new social environment or group worth paying attention to, without feeling guilty for needing a change.