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Why Many Of Our Teen Friendships Drift Apart When We Are Adults And Why It's Okay

by Sara Soo. |

Friendships—some last for a lifetime, others only for a season. No matter which, friends are people who help us get through both the good and bad times in life. Remember the good old days when friendships were simple? As kids, friends just meant having someone to play with you. As teens, friends start to become the people you confide in as you navigate the world and discover new feelings and emotions. As adults, however, that's where it gets a little tricky. What do adult friendships look like and why do we start to feel that we might be drifting away from the friends we made back in our teenage years?

We start having different life pursuits as we get older.

While the answer might not be a straightforward and direct one, I've discovered one main root cause that causes teenage friendships to drift apart—differences in life interests and direction. This becomes more apparent in adulthood because once we graduate from school, we're all pretty much on different paths after that.

When we enter this post-school stage, we start branching out into doing different things. We go to different colleges and some of our friends move overseas to further their studies. That's probably the key turning point in all teenage friendships—when you no longer have the platform to readily see each other every day and the dynamics change because you actually have to make time to see them.

I've realised that when we were younger, we were placed in environments that sort of "forced" us to make friends. Being surrounded by peers every day in school is probably a huge factor. Not only do you get to be buddies with your classmates but thanks to various co-curricular activities and sports, you also get to mingle with those who are interested in the same things as you are. As a student, you also have a little bit more freedom to take part in these activities as you don't have to worry too much about things like work, finances, etc.

We probably never realised the advantage of seeing each other every day until we left school. We think, yeah we'll definitely stay in touch, we'll continue to be besties to the very end! But unfortunately, this might not last very long and eventually, you might just end up having completely different interests in life where your paths just don't cross anymore. And that results in less talking and eventually losing contact. While some happen gradually, others can happen quite rapidly.

And that's okay.

It's okay to lose contact with old friends because some friendships are seasonal. Whether they were there for you for a year or 10 years, learn to cherish the good times you shared with them. Reflect on the lessons you've learnt in this friendship and emulate them in your future friendships. Friendships are not defined by how long you know each other, it really is all about the quality. If fate brings you back to them, welcome them with open arms. If you feel the urge to reconnect, drop them a text! I'm sure they'd be more than happy to catch up with you and laugh at the good ol' days!

Drifting apart does not equate to falling out with someone.

Growing apart does not necessarily mean that there is beef between the two of you. It doesn't mean you don't care for your friend anymore. It could just mean that the friendship has run its course and it is time to move on to the next stage. Sometimes, holding onto a friendship that is expired could be more detrimental than letting it go. It has just evolved into a different kind of care where you love them from afar—and that's totally okay!

Seeing it from a more positive angle could help you make peace with drifting apart from past friendships. It could also mean that you now have room for new ones! It also taught me that I should make the effort to maintain and treasure the ones that stayed! Friendship is all about effort, time and energy. Invest in those who will do the same for you and keep them close. It is better to have 1 friend who cares about you than 10 who don't.

You can find out more about the author on Instagram.

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