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Think back to the groundbreaking series “Insecure.” We watched as the friendship between Issa and Molly evolved beyond a mutual codependence to a distant acquaintanceship that only grew more strained in the face of blossoming romances, career changes, and differing mental spaces. In the end, we viewers rejoiced when our fav television girlfriends reconnected with a stronger bond than ever before. While their story had a happy ending, real-life friendship fallouts do not always have a happily ever after. Sometimes life brings a friendship to an end. Different goals, experiences, and needs can lead people to grow apart, which poses the question: how does one cope with outgrowing friends who were once significant figures in their everyday life? How do you simply move on from those you share some of your fondest memories with? 

The truth is there is no simple way to navigate this process. Depending on the history, you will mourn your friend’s absence much harder than a romantic partner because, let’s face it, no one expects to end or even distance themselves from a friendship. In other cases, disconnecting may be a healthy decision for both parties. Nevertheless, navigating this life change may take a toll on you, so here are a few things to consider when outgrowing some of your best buddies. 

Understand that change is good

Your journey will be filled with alternative routes. Therefore, embrace the ride. Sadly, not everyone can travel with you as you enter your many new chapters. Once you accept this as a vital part of life, the outgrowing of people will not hit as hard.

Never feel guilty

Moving away from people and things that no longer serve you is a means of self-care. While life-long bonds are extremely difficult to pull away from, if your current state of being no longer aligns with others, there is no shame in needing some space. Maybe the relationship was birthed from a love of partying. Yet, you’ve grown out of that phase, and a big part of their existence may still revolve around a lively nightlife. While there is nothing wrong with being on the party scene, outgrowing it means you’ll likely outgrow the people who you enjoyed it most with. 

Don’t end the friendship. Just change its dynamic

Some friendships can be extremely draining for various reasons. This alone can cause you to reconsider them. But instead of cutting all communication, change the way and frequency that you and your friend interact with one another. Maybe speaking every day is too much. Hanging out often in certain atmospheres may be too intense. Try taking your pal in doses. The occasional lunch to catch up may be easier to digest. Or the monthly “hey, just checking on you” text will suffice. 

Outgrowing friendships is a part of the adult experience that no one warns you about. It’ll be bittersweet and awkward at times. However, in the words of the iconic Toni Braxton, you must simply let it flow. 


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