I TURNED 22 last year. On my birthday, I received an outpouring of love from my dearest friends and family, and I couldn’t have been more grateful to have received all their greetings.
However, there is one thing I have noticed, especially with each birthday that has passed: as you grow older, you start to receive fewer greetings. Less people check in on you or ask you to come over when they have parties planned… all that jazz.
It especially hurts when the people you thought would be in your life forever are the ones starting to fade away. Imagine telling your younger self that you no longer talk to your best friend. Now, you only get to see the girl you thought was going to be your maid of honor when you’re scrolling through Instagram.
All these people that you once considered your family are now barely a part of your life—if they even are.
When I was hit with this realization – that I’ve finally reached a point in life where I’ve started to outgrow some of the people who were once my closest friends – I couldn’t help but feel an ache in my chest.
I’m only in college. I’m still a dumb girl trying to figure things out. How can it be that I’m already losing the people who were once so important to me? Is it something I could’ve avoided? Is it something I can still fix moving forward?
All these questions remain unanswered. Perhaps for now, the only thing I know for sure is that losing someone you love can happen anytime. Regardless of that, I don’t think you’ll ever be ready for it.
Never a perfect time
For some reason, I thought the stage of outgrowing people happened when you reached your parents’ age, not as early as college, high school or grade school.
There could be several reasons for this. Maybe you now have different interests in life, no longer feel as if you’re yourself when you’re around them, or they bring out a side of you that you know deep down you don’t like.
Perhaps you no longer feel as if you’re a priority in life – that the relationship has become rather one-sided. They don’t celebrate your successes nor do they help you get through your struggles. You simply exist to them whenever they are available.
In some cases, you just don’t feel like being friends anymore. The connection, the spark, just disappeared. In my opinion, all these reasons are valid: why force something when you know that it isn’t meant to be?
This can happen at any point in your life. Though you don’t necessarily have to cut off these people, why keep them in your life if you know it isn’t good – or isn’t doing anything – for either of you?
Learn to accept it and move on
Someone I used to spend every day with is now just another person on my social media feed. We don’t talk, only ever greeting each other on our birthdays, exchanging pleasantries, and telling each other we should hang out soon. But we don’t make any plans to do so because we know we’re never actually going to follow through with them.
Sometimes you want to open up to them – to take that extra step, to maybe bring back what the two of you once had. Even when you try to do so, you’re met with nothing but a fake smile and a sympathetic nod.
Then you realize that it would hurt a hell of a lot less if you’d just cut them off in the first place.
At the end of the day, deciding what to do with people you’ve outgrown is up to you. You can choose to cut them off or you can choose to just let them be. Honestly, that’s what I do.
If it hurts to keep this person around more than it would to take them out of your life for good, then what’s the point of doing so?
When making that decision, just remember to do what you know is best for you. That is your choice and no one else’s.
Take it as a form of self-care, with a shot of tequila and a slice of lemon to ease the pain no matter what your decision may be.