Signs You’ve Outgrown A Lifelong Friendship

6 signs you've outgrown a lifelong friendship.

Losing a connection with what you thought was a lifelong friendship can sometimes be just as tough as coming to terms with a long-term relationship ending. 

As we transition and go through different stages in our lives, it’s normal that our relationships with others might change too. The older we get, the more we learn who we are, which naturally causes other areas of our lives to look different. While the core of who we are stays the same for the most part, a lot of other things can change, including: beliefs, values, and even friendships. 

While some people are in our lives for a short period of time, sometimes we find those friends that we know are going to be there for a lifetime. But what happens when you start to feel like your lifelong friendship has run its course? While it’s never easy or something you want to happen in life, here are 6 signs you’ve outgrown a lifelong friendship:

1. The Friendship Feels One-Sided 

We all know that for any type of relationship to work, effort needs to be put in by both sides, not just one. All of our lives are busy, even if it looks busy in different ways. Maybe you just had your first child, but your friend is starting to excel in her dream career. Regardless of what season of life you’re both in, if you feel like you’re always reaching out without anything in return, then it might be time to re-evaluate where your friendship stands. It’s important to recognize if it’s just a busy season of life, and you’ll eventually reconnect, or if it feels like a constant reach-out without ever anything in return. 

What makes it harder about a lifelong friendship is not wanting to accept that you’re both possibly starting to outgrow it. But if it feels one-sided, it’s not worth continuing to prioritize somebody who doesn’t prioritize you anymore.



2. There’s A Lack Of Support 

Do you feel like you’re always the one supporting your friend through any and everything, but it’s not reciprocated? Maybe you tried to call your friend to vent about a life problem, but you feel like all it did was go in one ear and out the other. When there’s a lack of support and feeling like your friend couldn’t care less about what’s going on in your life, it’s difficult to want to keep maintaining and growing that friendship. 

Since we all have different experiences at different times in our lives, there might be times when your friend will have to lean on you a little more than usual or vice versa. But during those times, you know that you both always support each other no matter what. Friends support and are there for each other not only through the hard times, but through the good times as well. When you feel like the support isn’t being reciprocated because your friend never responds with more than two words without chiming in about their own life, it’s difficult to want to keep nurturing that friendship.

3. Your Interests No Longer Align

As you start to find out who you are throughout your 20s (and even throughout your 30s), you might realize your interests with a friend have changed and some things no longer align. When you start getting to know somebody, you find ways to connect and build on those connections. But sometimes friendships simply change because you find that you don’t have anything in common anymore like you once did. 



One of the hardest parts about accepting that you’ve outgrown a lifelong friendship is realizing that your stages of life might never connect like they used to. It’s nothing against the other person, but it’s just the reality that we go through a series of life changes, that might not always align with the people we were once close to. It’s hard to connect with somebody when neither of you can relate to what the other one is going through.

4. The Friendship No Longer Fulfills You

I’ve always believed that we have different friendships in our lives because they fulfill us in different ways. Sometimes you might need that one friend who always knows what to say, or the friend who will support you no matter how big or small your dreams are. But when you find that the lifelong friendship isn’t fulfilling you anymore, it might be a sign that you’re starting to outgrow it. 

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a short time, while others are meant to be lifelong. The people who are with you from the beginning might not always make it to the end destination because we each have our own paths in life. If you find there’s no sense of joy in your friendship, or you’re constantly feeling drained after you’re around them, it could be because the friendship isn’t fulfilling you in ways that it used to. 



5. There’s Too Much Conflict Or Negativity 

Do the friendships in your life bring out the best or worst version of you? Disagreements and conflict in any type of friendship or relationship are bound to happen. Especially when you’re two completely separate people with two different mindsets. But it’s important to recognize if it’s constant conflict, or something that only happens occasionally.

There’s a difference between disagreeing on something once in awhile, vs. constantly having opposing viewpoints that interfere with your friendship. Being involved in a friendship when there’s too much conflict can bring an unnecessary amount of negativity in your life. What’s hard about wanting to maintain a lifelong friendship is wanting to salvage the relationship as much as possible, since it’s always been in your life. But if there’s too much negativity or conflict all the time, you might be outgrowing somebody who isn’t willing to grow with you or change. 

6. You Feel Like An Inconvenience 

Do you feel like you’re always an inconvenience to your friend when you try to reach out and connect, even if it’s a simple text? While a strong friendship is built on the premise that you don’t always have to be in communication to know the other person still cares about you, you still shouldn’t feel like an inconvenience when you do try to reach out and talk. 

Sometimes it’s not always about how much time you get with somebody, but rather the time that you do get. Things do and will change in our lives, but a strong lifelong friendship will always make its way back to each other. If you feel like you’re always “bothering” or inconveniencing your friend, then it might not be worth investing any more time into. 



While outgrowing what you thought was a lifelong friendship is difficult, accept that sometimes things can and will change as you transition from one stage to the next. Maybe your interests no longer align with what you thought was a lifelong friendship. Or you find that you’re not only on a different chapter of life, but a whole book altogether. 

The people who come and go in our lives are always there for a reason, helping us grow and teaching us things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Change is always hard and uncomfortable, but know that for every loss, there will always be another gain.

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6 Comments

  1. 4.5.24

    This is such a great article and I appreciate you sharing it. It’s hard to navigate adult friendships, especially ones that we’ve invested a lot of time in.

    • 4.9.24

      Thank you so much!! I agree, especially trying to navigate it through all of life’s never-ending changes. Thanks for reading!

  2. 4.5.24
    Tracy McHugh said:

    Great post! Have had a few of these over the years. Some times it can be difficult to determine when to let go. I totally believe in the quote: a reason, a season, a lifetime.

  3. 4.9.24
    Selene said:

    Off, this one hit home. All the things you wrote about are so true, and sometimes we are just in denial because we don’t want to let go of what feels familiar, but in order to move on, we need to let go. 

    Thanks for this reminder.

    • 4.11.24

      I’m glad it resonated with you! That’s definitely the hardest part of letting go, is learning how to accept that something has run its course.