This Is Why Friends Drift Apart


This Is Why Friends Drift Apart
Continue reading the main storyCredit…The New York Times ArchivesSee the article in its original context from
April 16, 1984, Section B, Page 8Buy ReprintsTimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

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''YOU can be nostalgic and evoke the time when you were the same, but because you no longer are the same there is no forward momentum in the friendship.''

Dr. Michael R. Milano, a psychiatrist, was musing on ''The Big Chill,'' the film about a group of 1960's college friends who meet for a sentimental weekend and then go their separate ways. ''In a way, it was about failed friendships,'' he added.

Along with failed marriages and stagnated careers, one of the symptoms of what is referred to as midlife crisis may be a feeling that one is no longer connected to friends who once were significant. The symptoms may be as simple as a tendency to yawn during conversations, or they can reflect a deep philosophical divergence.

''We had friends we didn't talk to for years because they were in favor of the Vietnam War,'' said Joan Gordon, a teacher who lives outside Boston with her husband, Mark. ''We grew apart on that issue. It had nothing to do with life style or values. It was a principle.''

Principles and politics may change, but there can be subtler evolutions as one grows older. What one looks for in friends at the age of 45 may be far different than at 25.

''Such changes in the self occur over the years, and it's basically a healthy phenomenon,'' said Dr. Milano, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

''But if a friendship validates our sense only of what we were and does not validate our sense of what we are now, then it can become untenable.''

The fact that old friends have shared crises and been witnesses to one's life (''How many people do I know who knew my parents?'' one man asked) can make letting go a source of unhappiness and even guilt.

''It's self-centered to feel guilty,'' said Dr. Dorothy Cantor, a psychologist in Westfield, N.J. ''It's possible that the other person, having arrived at a different juncture, is just as happy to be rid of you.

They don't understand you anymore.''

The comparison with marriage is inevitable, she pointed out. In both marriage and friendship, people are faced with ''getting past the point of changing needs,'' she said.

''People grow and develop, and not necessarily at the same rate and in the same direction. But in a friendship there isn't the commitment. You don't have to work at it.

More ly you will move on to people who can meet the needs you feel now.''

But not all the changes are inward. When a friend marries, the friend who remains single may or may not admire or be admired by the new spouse.

When babies arrive, the conversation may focus on diapers instead of dialectics. Divorces can result in a dividing up of friends along with furniture.

Career success may strain a friendship with someone who is not so successful. And even plain geography takes its toll.

''What ends up happening is you have a Christmas-card relationship,'' said Frank Sesno, of Associated Press Radio in Washington.

He added that job and time pressures also affect the quality of friendship: ''The shared experiences I had, such as backpacking with a friend, have given way to dinnertime friendships where you sit around and talk.

But that's not the kind of experience of which reminiscences are made.''

Kathleen Holmay, a Washington social-sciences consultant, worries about what the fast pace of life is doing to friendships. ''I don't see people reaching out to other people,'' she said. ''People tend to have friendships that have to do with work or are expedient in other ways. We are not valuing people enough.''

But even in a valued relationship, as time goes by people may sense puzzling changes in each other. Miss Holmay believes that may be the time to say, ''Let's talk.''

''But instead,'' she said, ''people cover it up, and pretty soon the friendship doesn't have that much going for it because they are not leveling with each other. People have to express their feelings to each other beyond, 'What did you do today?' ''

In assessing the positive and negative aspects of a friendship, the concept of a balance sheet may be helpful, with, for instance, dependability and mutual respect on one side, stale jokes and irritating traits you didn't used to notice on the other.

''There are dividends in relationships as there are in other investments,'' said Dr. E. Gerald Dabbs, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College.

In the beginning of the friendship, he said, ''There may have been something you needed or wanted, but it had a very different meaning to you then than it does now. It's not a dividend that's important to you anymore.

And the transitions we go through in life influence not only what we get a relationship but what we give to it as well.''

Dr. Cantor suggested something specific to give. ''Ask yourself, 'Have I done anything to help this person come along with me where I'm going?' '' she said. ''If the answer is no, why not give it a try?''

“,”author”:”Olive Evans”,”date_published”:”1984-04-16T05:00:00.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:””,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:””,”domain”:””,”excerpt”:”Continue reading the main storyRELATIONSHIPSCredit…The New York Times Archives”,”word_count”:932,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}


Why do friends drift away

This Is Why Friends Drift Apart

You were very close friendsIn fact you were more family membersBut as the time passed something happenedYou started drifting apart for no obvious reason

And you kept wondering how could this happen?

Unless you are extremely young i am pretty sure that you noticed that close friends sometimes drift apart, become distant and even turn into enemies.

There are very obvious reasons that could let friends drift apart such as moving to another city or country, getting married or going through a serious life style change.

Those reasons however are the obvious ones and you won't have a problem explaining your friend's distance if one of them was the cause.

The reasons i am going to talk about in this article are the less obvious ones. The ones that are not that obvious that they leave you confused.

Here are some reasons that could slowly lower the quality of friendship and force people to drift apart:

  • 1) Reduction of intimacy: In my article How to develop intimacy with friends i said that intimacy can be developed when you share your emotions, secrets, feelings, concerns , fears and everything else with your friends. If you stopped doing so then your relationship with your friends is going to become more and more superficial. Shortly your friend will become more a stranger since you won't be feeling comfortable around them anymore and so the friendship might slowly fall apart
  • 2) Unresolved conflicts: Do you remember that fight that happened between you and your friend months ago? I know you totally forgot about it but what about your friend? Sometimes such conflicts leave a mark in people's hearts. Some people actually never tell their friends that they feel really bad about something that they did to them. As those feelings keep growing that friend might find it hard to take it anymore and they might decide to drift away. See also Should i tell my friends about my problems?.
  • 3) The rise of jealousy: Even your very close friend can get jealous of you. After all jealousy is a normal human emotion. Now if those feelings of jealousy kept growing in your friend's heart then probably they will not feel that good around you. And when this happens that friend might decide to slowly drift away. See What causes jealousy.
  • 4) Developing different interests: When i talked about friendship psychology i said that common interests is one of the strong factors that binds friends together. Now if for any reason your friend's interest became different than yours then you might find them slowly drifting apart from you
  • 5) Not disclosing vital information: Some people start to experience a change of heart towards their friends but they never speak about it. As those feelings keep growing bigger those people find themselves more and more uncomfortable with the friendship. While those people might seem totally OK from the outside still they might be feeling very hurt from the inside. This is why you might find those people drifting apart all of a sudden

People come and go

What you need to know about life is that it's a normal thing that people come and go.
Yes you should do your best to keep all of your friends but you should also understand that sometimes it's not possible to prevent something that from happening.

Some friends will drift apartSome might become strangersWhile some others might become enemies.

And life will always go on.

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6 Reasons Why Friends Drift Apart

This Is Why Friends Drift Apart

It’s a sad fact of life that most friendships don’t last forever.

Even if you have lots of great memories together, one or both of you will probably move on at some point.

Understanding why friends often drift apart can help you come to terms with the end of your friendship.

Here are the six most common reasons why you may drift apart:

1. Your friendship was built around a shared situation rather than underlying compatibility:

When you and your friend work at the same place or go to the same college, your friendship usually works because you see each other often and your shared situation gives you endless things to talk about.

However, when you graduate or change jobs, this type of friendship usually suffers.

You no longer have the same day-to-day routine to bring you together, so you have to rely on other shared interests and underlying compatibility.

It usually becomes clear within weeks whether this type of friendship can survive in another form.

2. One or both of you have outgrown the friendship:

Sometimes, the friends we make in our teens or twenties are no longer right for us a few years later.

For instance, you might want deeper, more meaningful friendships as you get older but your high school buddies might still prefer to dedicate their free time to partying or chatting about the latest reality TV show.

In some cases, you might be in different stages of life.

It might feel as though one of you has pulled ahead in a certain area, and this means you have less in common.

For instance, if one of you has just landed a big promotion in a high-stress career whilst the other is pregnant with their first child, you may no longer be able to relate to one another in the same way.

3. One or both of you are too busy to maintain regular contact:

The pace of modern life seems to increase all the time.

It can be hard to make time for meaningful conversations with friends.

Before you know it, weeks or months have slipped by and you feel you aren’t a part of your friend’s life any more.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that people make space in their lives for what they value most.

You and your friend might be very busy, but no one has such a packed schedule that they can’t spend three minutes checking in with someone on WhatsApp.

The harsh truth is that if someone isn’t willing to carve out a little time for you occasionally, they no longer see your friendship as a priority.

4. One or both of you has started an intense romantic relationship:

Men and women a have a tendency to spend less time with their friends when they enter a serious relationship.

This is natural – when you fall in love, you want to see them all the time.

But beware!

If you neglect your friends, they may become annoyed that you are putting a new relationship before them.

5. Something has happened to damage the trust between you:

If you have caught your friend out in a lie or discovered that they have betrayed you in some way, your friendship will never be the same again.

Trust takes a long time to build but can be torn down in seconds.

Even if the two of you decide to make up and start afresh, there will probably be an emotional barrier between you that may never come down.

6. One of you has become resentful, bitter, or jealous:

It’s not an easy thing for most people to admit, but friends can and do feel jealous of one another.

The source of their jealousy might be a relatively petty thing, the size of their friend’s house or salary.

However, people can also become jealous when their friends have babies, start their dream career, get married, or take an extended sabbatical.

This can put a strain on the friendship because it’s difficult to hide strong feelings of envy.

Should you try to salvage a friendship that seems to be slipping away?

It depends on the situation.

If your friendship has bought you a lot of joy over the years and you really miss them, there’s nothing to be lost in making a special effort to reach out and ask to catch up.

At the same time, you need to accept that they are under no obligation to remain your friend, and that they have the choice to move on.

However you handle the situation, remember that you will always be able to cherish the memories of your friendship. 


10 signs you and your best friend are drifting apart, and how to manage it

This Is Why Friends Drift Apart

No one s to face the moment in life when a close friendship dissolves, but it’s definitely something that you can’t ignore. In most cases, you can easily see the signs that you and your bestie have grown apart even if you don’t want to believe that a breakup with your best friend is already in progress.

When best friends begin drifting away from one another, it’s typically a situation where one or both of you can sense the inevitable vanishing act coming before it actually happens. You just don’t *click* you used to, and you intuitively understand that a huge-yet-necessary social shift is on the horizon. “Best friends grow apart for the following reasons.

They [might] move far away, get into a relationship and spend more time with partner, have kids and doesn’t feel the other [person] relates, or start to gravitate toward [other] people who are aligned with her career goals,” clinical psychologist, Dr. Kim Chronister tells HelloGiggles. “Overall, it’s mostly about different values and priorities changing.

It is very normal to have different best friends throughout your lifetime.”

Experiencing a subtle parting of the ways with your BFF is just one of uncomfortable adulting moments that many of us face with reluctance, but still manage to survive.

You saw the read receipts, and your BFF has been Snapchatting nonstop so you know she got your messages (thanks technology), but it’s been weeks, and she hasn’t bothered to respond to your text with so much as an emoji. While you may wish she’d be upfront, Dr.

Chronister says it’s extremely challenging for people to do this. “For many people, it is difficult for them to be direct.

Although a therapist might recommend honesty, it is challenging for someone to say ‘I’m sick of you complaining about your boyfriend’ or ‘I feel you talk a lot and don’t listen to me.'”

There’s an unspoken weirdness between you two that no one wants to address.

As much as you try to ignore it and act everything is normal, the discomfort lingers in the air as a clear sign that the best days you and your best friend enjoyed together are officially behind you.

“It’s awkward because best friends are keenly aware of how they used to behave with one another. When they begin to drift apart they are less in sync with one another in every way and it’s obvious,” says Dr. Chronister.

But how exactly can you tell the difference between temporary awkwardness and an indication that your friendship is ending? “A normal awkward example would be a friend forgetting it’s your birthday,” says Dr. Chronister. “An awkward situation in which it may be a sign you’re drifting apart would be a friend dodging you after you lost a loved one or had a bad breakup.”

You’re clueless about the wedding details, and she has no idea how your new job is going. The fact that both of you are so the loop with what’s going on in your respective lives feels strange because this is not how best friends do.

Dr. Chronister suggests being direct if this is something that bothers you. “Warmly communicate how you think you could be even closer.

Slowly reintegrate to become in sync [with them] and be patient if they take longer to respond,” she says. Keep in mind that things might not go the way you want.

And while it will be tough to go through something that, it’s good to know that you tried your best to make the friendship work.

When you come face to face, have a brief convo, or stalk her on , all you see is an impostor pretending to be this person who is formerly known as your BFF.

It’s the individual who has known you for years is a virtual stranger. Whatever you’re into, she just can’t understand, and neither of you make the effort to enlighten one another.

Un two peas in a pod, you couldn’t be further apart than if you never spoke again.

But sometimes people just grow apart, and while you can try to figure out the reason why, it might be best to be grateful for the friendship and move on.

“People can grow in beautiful ways and if that’s the reason you grew apart, focus on the gratitude of experiencing that person,” says Dr. Chronister. “Close your eyes [and] wish them well in your mind.

Receive them warmly if they reach out and be honest if you miss them without being demanding of their time.”

Which brings us to…

Once upon a time, you couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing or hearing from your BFF again. But since there seems to be a total disconnect between the two of you, that feels a real possibility that you could be totally fine with.

“Closure is only necessary for the individual. Ask yourself what do you need to do to clean up your side of the street if it ended badly,” says Dr. Chronister.

“[But] if it ended gradually, closure is a personal journey you can do alone, with a life coach or a therapist.” At the end of the day, you don’t have to feel guilty for the friendship ending, especially if it ended on good terms.

Be grateful for the friendship, and only circle back if it feels right for you to do so.

During your closest days, you didn’t allow disagreements to linger for too long before one of you called to hash things out, apologize and move on. But the fallout from that minor tiff you had seems to be going on longer than necessary, maybe because it’s less about the argument and more about the fact that you two just aren’t as close as you used to be.

But why does this happen in the first place? Well, according to Dr. Chronister, some friends might poorly communicate their needs indirectly and aggressively. “They are creating a boundary by letting the tiff go on which means they don’t have to directly break up the friendship,” she says.

Friendship takes work, but ugh, when you hang out, there’s just way too much heavy lifting involved. From uncomfortably fishing around for stuff to talk about to not agreeing on places to meet, the entire relationship feels one extended ride on the struggle bus.

“When you’re with a friend, gauge how you feel mood-wise and how you feel about yourself when you’re with them.

A good friend would receive hearing your needs, make you feel supported, and make you feel calm and/or happy most of the time,” says Dr. Chronister. If none of the above applies, then it might be time to let this friendship go.

While you may try to make the most it, forcing the friendship simply might not work in your (or your friend’s) favor.

Yesterday was your best friend’s birthday (or was it the day before?), but you didn’t even send a text nor did you receive an angsty message from her for forgetting. You used to have a standing gossip appointment for Fridays after work, but it’s been several months since you got the workplace tea, or any juicy info about her life for that matter.

Those cheesy inside jokes they share make you cringe with discomfort because for once, you’re not in on them. The stories they laugh at and the subtle references everyone else gets go completely over your head. It’s they know her better than you, and what’s worse, your former BFF has no interest in keeping you in the loop.

If you believe this is happening to you and your best friend, it might be a good idea to kindly address your concerns. “It’s normal to feel neglected, [but] don’t be overly reactive.

State your feelings face-to-face in a non-confrontational way,” says Dr. Chronister.

While you don’t want to attack them for making you feel left out, you can discuss how you feel with them to figure out if something else is going on with your friendship that you might not be aware of.

Not that there was an official ceremony announcing your BFF’s replacement, but both of you know in your hearts that “best friend” is now a title with an expiration date, which happened as soon as you began sharing your deepest, darkest secrets and everyday happenings with someone new.

And this is completely okay. Friendships will come and go as time goes on. And while you may want to hold onto everyone you meet, Dr. Chronister suggests it’s best to grieve the friendship to help you heal.

“Grieve them and wish them well for your own peace. If you’re still seeing them but not [as] best friends, be kind and gracious [to them.

] But if you’re too hurt by the change in the dynamic, be honest and give yourself space [to heal],” she says.

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5 Things to Do if You’re Drifting Apart from A Friend

This Is Why Friends Drift Apart
 Written by Riley’s Way Council member Olivia Rosenfield in partnership with the One Love Foundation 

This summer, the One Love Foundation and Riley’s Way Foundation teamed up to highlight the roles empathy, kindness, and respect play in healthy friendships. Together, One Love and Riley’s Way trained a dedicated team of interns to write inspiring advice articles for the next generation of kind leaders! Each week their work focused on fostering authentic connections that build bridges (not barriers) in friendships rooted in empathy and compassion. Visit and to support our dedicated team of summer interns as they spread awareness about the importance of empathy, kindness, and healthy friendships with a new post each week on our blog.  

Friendships are often what we have in common, but sometimes our interests can diverge and suddenly what was once a close friendship starts to shift.

What do you do when you feel you are drifting apart, now that you aren’t bonding over a similar lifestyle? It’s not always easy, but a little effort can go a long way.

Even though you may not be in touch the way you were before, texting all the time or talking on the phone, it’s quality rather than quantity that counts in preserving a friendship.

Here are a few ways to stay connected to a friend who has a different lifestyle than you.

What’s Up!

The easiest way to strike up a conversation is to always ask your friend about their day. Saying “hello” or “what’s up” opens up a conversation and shows that, even though you may now have different interests, it doesn’t mean you aren’t interested.

If their day was bad, listen to them tell you why. It goes a long way in showing someone that you care about them. Remember to listen for specific details when they are talking.

You can bring up details about your friend’s life in later conversation, which serves as a good way to start talking if you feel distant or unfamiliar with your friend’s interests.

For instance, let’s say that your friend now wants to play video games all the time and that is something you just aren’t into. You can still cheer them on when they say they won a tournament, even if you think you would rather run one hundred miles away from the nearest video game.

It’s important to keep an eye on how often your friend reaches out to you as well. In a healthy relationship, each friend should put equal effort into the friendship. If you are always the one to reach out, maybe it’s okay to distance yourself from that friend.

If you notice that your friend is always reaching out and you’re not, put in a little extra effort to show your friend you care about them! Even if you don’t mean to be distant by not reaching out, it can sometimes come across that way, so just make sure to reach out as much as you can.

Be Kind

Being kind is just about the easiest way to preserve a friendship. When you feel you and your friend are drifting apart, it’s natural to want to distance yourself from them first but it’s not necessary. A kind gesture, being the first to say hi when you see them in the hallway, is the simplest way to break the ice and keep your connection strong.

Texting, Liking, and Posting

Use the ease of social media to your advantage! Since you probably aren’t talking as much as you used to, social media is a good way to see what your friend is up to and allows you to stay informed about their life.

Don’t discredit the power of presence—if your friend posts a cool picture on Instagram or , it to show your support, even if it’s not of the two of you. If you’re not the type to use Instagram or , try texting. It’s simple and helps you stay present in your friend’s life. But, try not to play the texting game.

If he/she texts you, text back when you can, and don’t wait for a long time on purpose because your friend happened to take a long time to respond to you.

Show Up!

There is no replacement for seeing each other in person. A great way to spend time with a friend who you’re not as close to anymore is to get food together. You can work together to find a place on Instagram or Yelp, and then feel that sweet satisfaction when you finally get there.

Additionally, going to cool food places is a good way to bond because it creates memories. It’s also fun to just hang out at someone’s house and watch a movie, or maybe even bake.

Doing little things a picnic at a park is also fun because you can spend time together without having to take up the entire day.

Honesty and Openness

Something important to keep in mind is that friendships take work. They’re not always perfect, and healthy friendships require both people to work hard at maintaining them. If you and your friend are becoming distant, try putting a little extra effort into any of the ways of reconnecting listed above.

If something still doesn’t feel right, there is nothing wrong with having a candid conversation with your friend about your relationship. It’s important not to point fingers, but to try to get to the bottom of why you are no longer as close as you used to be.

If it’s because you both live different kinds of lives, it can’t be helped and that’s ok! People grow and change and accepting each other’s changes will help you maintain a connection.

It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. In fact, 72% of Americans say they feel lonely. When your friend becomes distant from you, it’s not unusual to feel twinges of loneliness but, if you make sure to stay in touch online and in person, your relationship has a better chance of working out. The bottom line is life is all about changes and friendships are no different.