As a human being, you are constantly evolving in your personal life. At times, you may even start ending friendships to build new ones. You do this to update your social circle to match your personal life’s evolution. This includes transitioning to new friends and having to leave the old ones behind.
It’s a special moment in life when you feel like it’s time to leave some friends behind, or end even one friendship, and move on to making friends with new people.
It’s far from being easy. But there is a method to it, and you can do it without hurting yours or the other person’s feelings. In this article, let’s get you ready for that “transition” whenever it’s time to “upgrade” your social life.
When It’s Time to End A Friendship
There are many reasons why you should end a friendship. It will ultimately be a better option for you in the long run.
When you invest in yourself, you try and make your life better. This makes you evolve as a person. You may find that some of your old friends will not be up to your speed, or aren’t willing to. Perhaps they aren’t trying to better themselves like you are. You may begin to feel that they’re dragging you down to a lower, for the lack of a better term, level of existence. You feel that you’ve outgrown them.
Enjoying their company may not be like it used to anymore. You may start to think that the things they’re concerned with, the things they’re talking about, are no longer relevant to you. Maybe you no longer want to talk about sports, gossip, or any other insignificant subject matters all the time. It’s not that you want to judge them for it — you’re just not that interested in those things anymore.
Maybe you feel that the motivations and aspirations you have are not matched with those of your existing friends’. Maybe you have a desire to surround yourself with people who are motivated as well, who can add to your motivation — not put it down.
In other cases, you might feel that you no longer share the values of your old friends. Sometimes, there is that feeling when you question if they’re really your friends — you may even start to consider them as “fake friends.” These things happen.
There are many reasons why you should end a friendship. It will ultimately be a better option for you in the long run.
Other times, you decide to stop being friends with someone because they have bad personalities. It’s just that you’ve known them for so long that you’ve learned to tolerate it. As a good friend, tolerating bad behavior isn’t something you should do.
If you managed to call them out on it before, and they still haven’t changed for the better, you may see that as alarming behavior.
When things like these happen, you start to feel that it’s time to make some new friends — and maybe let go of existing ones.
Here Is Why It’s Hard To Leave Friends Behind And “Just Move On”
Anybody can tell you to “Just move on. Don’t sweat it. Just make some new friends and forget about the old ones.” But, that’s way easier said than done.
Letting go of old friends to embrace new ones is hard because…
- It’s a jump out of your comfort zone.
- You may have developed a friendly love for these people; it’s not easy to just rip them out of your life. You may have had some amazing and unforgettable experiences together, and that’s valuable.
- Letting go of friends feels like a jump into the unknown. You start to think: “What if I don’t succeed in making new friends? What if I end up alone? Maybe I should just stick with the people I have for now.”
- It’s a moment when your social skills and ability to make friends are really put to the test.
- And, maybe you don’t have that much extra time to invest in looking for new friends after all.
Hopefully, this list helps you understand why it feels hard. And that understanding alone makes you are better prepared to deal with them.
Leaving Your Old Friends Behind – When To Do It And How
You’ll have every opportunity to leave old friends behind. When you’ve found your reason or its just something you know you have to do, for the betterment of you, you’ll feel it right away.
Knowing when to leave an old friend behind can become a “gut feeling”. It’s something you know you’ll have to do when it does happen. There are signs that you can look out for, though. These signs will serve as your confirmation that it’s time to leave. Signs such as:
- Your interests and theirs don’t align anymore. Whenever there’s something your friend wants to do, you just can’t seem to get on board with it. You may tag along every once in a while, but it’s only because you’re paying respect towards your friend. Behind all that is dismay and unhappiness on your end.
- Your friend can feel like this too. There’s something you want to do but they’re never enthusiastic about it.
- This happens way too much, way too many times. Once you feel like you and your friend have hit a roadblock on interests, that’s a red flag right there.
- Your friend doesn’t support your dreams and aspirations. If there’s something you need to do that’s for the sake of following your dream and a friend disapproves because it conflicts with their interest, that’s a bad sign. For example, you need to attend a conference for your profession on the same day your friend wants to go to the beach. If your friend disapproves of you attending the conference just because they want you to do something with them, maybe you should reconsider your friendship.
- They believe they know what’s best for you. While this can be something a friend does out of love and care, sometimes it can go overboard. Sometimes, it can be very controlling and manipulative. Once it crosses that line, you should leave that friendship behind.
These are just some of the many signs you need to look out for to know when the right time is to leave a friend behind. There’s still so many more, but as I mentioned — it can be a “gut feeling”. Trust your instincts and you’ll know when to leave an old friendship at the right time.
How to know if you’ve outgrown your friends
Outgrown is perhaps, a very condescending way of looking at it, but a spade is a spade. Yes, you can outgrow your friends. It happens. If the reason for it happening is a negative, (they don’t care about being better people or having better lives), then that’s a red flag also. Sometimes you can outgrow your friends simply because their paces are slower than yours, but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying. In this case, you should just help them instead. As long as they’re trying to be better, there’s no need to be alarmed about it.
If the case is negative, though, then it’s a different story. It can be a reason why you’d want to leave a friend behind — because you’ve outgrown them and they aren’t doing anything to help themselves. Here are a couple of signs of that:
- Your dreams become grander while they think they’re unreachable or unrealistic.
- You constantly work on yourself and they call you out on it.
- They have no idea what they want for themselves 5 to 10 years from now. Meaning, they don’t think of the long-term things.
- They don’t support your ambitions. Whenever you succeed at something, you feel a sense of envy out of them.
Once these things happen, you’ll know you’ve outgrown your friends. These are examples of unhealthy circumstances. Once these things happen, maybe your next best move is to leave the friendship behind.
How To Start The Transition To A New Social Life
The first thing to do is to get clarity and to think ahead. You need to do that on two fronts.
The old friend(s)…
First of all – what kind of relationship do you want to have with them after the transition? Maybe you don’t want to cut them off completely. Maybe you just want to meet them less often. Perhaps you still cherish them, and want to keep them around – or maybe you just want to keep them as a contact.
Your old friends, or some of them, don’t completely have to disappear from your life. What you can do is you can place certain friends in certain categories. The categories can be whatever it is you want to happen with you and an old friend. Which friends do you still be in contact with? Which friends will you still see on special occasions? Are there anyone you want to completely cut away from your life?
The point is, you don’t have to completely cut everybody out, just because you’re upgrading your social life. It doesn’t have to be so black and white, especially not at first.
And, the new ones…
There is another reason to think ahead. Before you dive right in, ask yourself these questions: which kinds of friends you now want? What is missing in your old friends that you want in the new ones? Is there a new interest or activity that have and want to meet more people interested in the same things? Did you recently change jobs and want to find friends who also work in that field? Maybe you have done some personal development work and gained some new character traits or values. How about meeting people who share those same values?
These are the two things you need to consider before you proceed: What kind of relationship you want to leave with your old friends, and what kinds of new friends you’re looking for. Once you figure these two things out, you can then proceed to rearrange old friendships and build new ones.
It’s Time For Action
Now that you know what you want, it’s time for action.
First, you have to know what to do to properly leave your old friends behind, and how to properly start building new friendships.
Leaving Old Friends Behind
As mentioned earlier, leaving old friends is easier said than done. But you don’t necessarily have to leave everyone completely. You can just reassess your friendship with them.
If you want to maintain open communication with an old friend without having to hang out as much as you did before, you can totally do so. This is especially effective if you and your old friend have not been seeing each other that much anymore. All you have to do is to make them understand that you’re going to be trying out new things in life, and maybe you won’t be able to hang out with them much anymore.
A lot of people just leave their friends out in the open. While this can be considered acceptable if a friend does something horrible to you for you to leave them, it may seem unfair to others. The best way you can do is to make them understand your situation. Be honest with them.
If they can’t understand your point of view, then that’s okay. You did your part by telling them the truth. Doing so will make it easier for you to move on and make new friends. By telling your old friends the truth, you’re able to have closure and can make new friends easier.
Leaving Old Friends For New Ones
Now that you’re set on letting go and leaving old friends for new ones, now you just have to figure out how to do that.
This part is also very challenging. You’ll feel like you’re starting over again. You’re going to have to start a new friendship from scratch. It may be something you haven’t done in a while.
Don’t worry. In this section, you will learn exactly what you should do to develop new friendships. If you feel like your social skills are a little rusty as of the moment, this will get you back on track.
Start looking up places people usually hang out
If there are places you and your old buddies used to hang out on just specific places, you shouldn’t do that now. Now, you need to widen your horizon. You need to look for other places. Places you haven’t gone to, bars and pubs that have recently opened, maybe even places you never thought you could socialize in but you totally could.
Look up apps and websites that can help you out with this. Or just Google it or search for it on Facebook. Visit those places and socialize.
This point will help you get back on track when it comes to socializing, if you haven’t done it in a while. If you’ve found the right place to socialize, now you just need to worry about the actual socializing.
People usually go in groups whenever they go to public places. Every so often, you’ll find someone who’s going there alone. Maybe, like you, they’re there to meet new friends. Or maybe they just want to be alone for the night.
It’s your job now to assess the room and decide which of the people there you’re going to socialize with first. Just listen in on conversations every once in a while. If you hear people talking about something you’re interested in, you can approach them later.
If you want to approach someone who’s alone, you can do that too. There are certain signs to look out for to know if someone is out to socialize with others or if they’re just there to be alone.
If someone keeps on scanning the room, intently listening in on other people’s conversations, nodding their heads to people every once in a while, they’re probably there to socialize.
A person who’s not interested in socializing will not do these things.
Being charismatic and being a good conversationalist
Once you’ve started talking with someone, you just have to keep that conversation up. Be sure to keep it more interesting. Be a good listener.
Make sure you listen well whenever they’re talking. Your body language and facial expressions will be helpful for this. Once you’re in a conversation, listen for cues. Lean forward just a little bit to show interest. Whenever they say something interesting, nod your head and say a couple of positive responses like “uh-huh” or “hmmm interesting”.
You can also probe for more questions afterward. If they say something of interest that you feel like it can be expanded upon, ask. Say something like “I really like what you said about ABC. Can you tell me more about it?”
Be sure to let them finish their thoughts. Also, you’re going to need to speak up every once in a while. Put something in the table, so to speak.
Once you’ve finished talking with someone and you feel like you’ve really connected, be sure you ask for their contact information. Keep it with you and contact them again after a while. You can then proceed to ask them out again. You can meet in a place similar to where you met, or just go back to that place. That can be the beginning of a new friendship.
Now that you’ve determined which type of friends you want in your new social circle, you gotta go out to meet them! Do some research; figure out what the best places to meet the kinds of people you want; try to go there once or twice a month.
If you have any ‘acquaintances’ who could fit with what you want as friends, contact them again. Try and meet them and see what happens!
I also invite you to read Get The Friends You Want. I wrote it from my own experiences of “leveling up” and transitioning to a new social circle, many times. It’ll give you the techniques and action-plan to get the social life you want, even if you’re starting from scratch.
– Paul Sanders