Out-growing friends

Sometimes it’s good to let people go

Gift Clement | Wed, 19 Feb 2020

A person’s 20s, regardless of gender, comes with limitless ups and downs. We go through different phases (bless my cringe-worthy goth phase!), learn new things, try to unlearn other things and go on adventures, all in the bid to discover ourselves. And some of us ultimately convince ourselves by 22 that we have in fact learnt it all and have grown into the final version of ourselves. Which is why it’s painful to accept further down the line that our ‘grown-up’ friends are quite distinct from us and do not perfectly fit into our lives.

 As I came off a FaceTime call with a ‘close’ friend yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me that our friendship had an expiration date. No, this was not a sudden decision – it was a long time coming. I have had this nagging feeling since at least March 2018. Yes, that long! So why were we still friends, then?

 Well, she was generally a lovely person whom I used to look up to. She inspired me during tough times and was really the reason I finally decided to pursue a degree after 21. I met her through a mutual friend and at the time, I was 20, and she was 22 in the first year of her degree. Her resilience in getting the degree made me decide to give university a try, hence I inadvertently grew attached to her. Being an outgoing person, I had a lot of friends growing up, especially in school, however, as we all parted ways afterwards, some of us moving to different parts of the country (and others, the world), we grew apart. So, over time, all the chimes of ‘’best friends forever’’ over Facebook dwindled and eventually became obsolete. Which is why I really believed that whatever friends I made in my 20s would be “forever” as I assumed, I would be smarter, therefore making better choices.

 Like so many others in their early 20s, I failed to realise that just like everything else, I’ll continuously change. And as cliché as it sounds, change truly is constant and so many of us fail to truly grasp the reality of this. The reason so many others like me fail to embrace it is because we imagine it’ll be bad and are afraid of it. The reason I vehemently refuse to let go of my ‘precious’ friend, ignoring the glaringly obvious bridge between us, is because I keep thinking it’s bad that we’re now different people. And I keep wondering if I’m a bad person for feeling this difference and wanting to part ways. However, neither of those are necessarily true. Sometimes we out-grow people, and that’s okay. Other times, people out-grow us, and that is okay too. We’re all innately different and our 20s, along with the rest of our lives, are for evolving. Sometimes, we just evolve apart. That doesn’t make us bad people, nor do the breakups have to be sour – it is okay to come to an amicable conclusion that you now lead different lives.

 So, dear readers, if like me, you have come to the realisation in your mid 20s that you in fact know nothing (thank you wise Ygritte of the Free Folks), then please find solace in knowing that you’re not alone. It is okay that you have outgrown friends you thought you’d have forever. Or that other friends have moved on with their lives and no longer have room for you. We all grow at different rates and that’s okay. Because eventually, we’ll all find our people.

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