You’ve called them your best friend, maybe even your best friend forever, and you’re still pretty close. But sometimes, you feel like you’ve grown apart. You don’t like what they’re doing, the choices they’re making, the other people they hang out with, or how they treat you. You find that because of these cracks, you’re spending less and less time together, and you have much less in common than you used to.
You make excuses not to see them, or they don’t reach out to make plans with you. Whenever you do see each other, somehow it feels like you’re forcing an intimacy that just isn’t there anymore. You hold onto the nostalgia of the past and tell yourself this person is worth staying in your life, but truly, you don’t really like them all that much anymore.
What do you do?
Sometimes, do nothing
Sometimes, unfortunately, friendships just fizzle out. Even if you and your BFF have sworn to be best friends forever, if you don’t both make an effort to stay friends, stay nurturing toward each other and share common interests, your life paths may widen the gap between you. Coming to terms with this, you’ll have to decide if you’re okay with that happening, or if you’d do what it takes to stop it. If you’d rather it fizzle out naturally, then don’t do anything. It’s sad, but sometimes people aren’t supposed to be around for the long haul.
Figure out what went wrong
If you’re feeling annoyed with or antagonistic toward a friend, chances are something big happened, or more often, a bunch of small things that you don’t even remember. Small things break down a friendship the same way they break down a romantic relationship, and if you just ignore them, they only get bigger and more important.
If you want to rekindle your friendship, you’ll have to figure out what’s standing between the two of you: was it something they said or how they were acting when they were going through this-or-that? Are they just consistently selfish? Are you the one who needs to be more flexible? The same problems that plague a relationship often plague longterm friendships.
If something your friend is doing is seriously bothering you, or you know they’re not acting in a healthy way, tell them, in an open, non-accusatory way that their behavior is not okay with you. If your friend is being self-destructive or reckless and you know they can do better, don’t just stand by and watch. And if they’re being judgmental or cruel, stand up to them. It’s a lot harder to stand up to our friends than we think, but it’s better for both of you in the long run.
Establish some common ground
People change as we get older, and that means the friends you had when you were younger may not always be the friends you’ll still want to have as an adult. Make an effort to keep a good friend by consistently spending some time together and do the things you used to do: like shop or go the movies. Find some interesting things to do that you’ll both like, and get to know each other all over again.
Focus on the things you like about them
When people change, the things we loved about them change too. And so even though you feel like your friend isn’t the person they used to be, you’ll have to get to know them all over again, and when you do, focus on the things you like, rather than on the things that have changed and that you don’t like. We’re all constantly going through phases in our lives, and maybe this is just a phase that they’ll grow out of, or maybe they need you now more than ever. If you love someone, you owe it to them to show that love, even if you’re not one hundred percent sure you want to.