Author Topic: Growing out of my old friends  (Read 3472 times)

kingrat

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Growing out of my old friends
« on: December 18, 2017, 07:58:42 AM »
Hi Moustachians, I need some guidance.

I'm 31, male, and well on my way to hitting FI before turning 40. I have an amazing job, I've lived overseas for 5 years and have lived a full life in my short time on this planet. I'm a genuine person who greatly values relationships, both my friendships and romantic ones.

One thing I've started to notice undeniably is how I'm growing in a different direction from most of the people I've been friends with for a long time. A lot of these friends have dead-end jobs, which is fine in and of itself, but more importantly are not growing. I see a lot of stagnation and it concerns me. The conversations at parties are often no different from when we were 22. It's a bit depressing to see. In line with this trend, I see a lot of people getting really out of shape, which I see as a similar issue.

My main issue is that not only am I growing out of these friends, but for some reason I feel that I'm being slowly cut out of the group and I don't know why. I'm social and make efforts to communicate about real things with all these people. I'm friendly and generous (my frugality is definitely not something that would be the problem here, I'm not miserly). I definitely don't talk about my net worth or anything that would make people uncomfortable like that.

So what is it? Have any of you experienced this before? The strange thing is that I think I know in my head that I want to move on from this group... and yet at the same time, feeling cut out still feels painful! I feel a mix of sadness and anger over it... these are some of my oldest friends.

As a final note I'll add that I do have other close friendships - people i've met later in life, many overseas or through work - that are a lot more fulfilling than the majority of these old ones. People I have more in common with. The only thing is that this is a fragmented group of people rather than the cohesive social network of my old high school friends.

What should I be doing here? I hope some of you have advice or stories to share. I could use the guidance!
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 08:46:06 AM by kingrat »

LifeHappens

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 08:37:01 AM »
What you're going through is a normal part of life, unfortunately. You will likely move through friendship groups a few times. You can remain friendly with people, of course, but as we grow and change our friendships do as well.

One thing I would caution you against - some of your language sounds a little condescending. Saying that your friends are "not growing" or they only want to "leverage up" suggests you see their lifestyles as being inferior to yours.

kingrat

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 08:41:28 AM »
What you're going through is a normal part of life, unfortunately. You will likely move through friendship groups a few times. You can remain friendly with people, of course, but as we grow and change our friendships do as well.

One thing I would caution you against - some of your language sounds a little condescending. Saying that your friends are "not growing" or they only want to "leverage up" suggests you see their lifestyles as being inferior to yours.

Thanks for your reply. You're right, that did sound condescending in a way that I didn't intend. The leveraging up to buy a house thing is definitely me judging them for financial decisions which isn't fair.

As for growth though, I do mean that part. I've known these people my whole life, and I can see very clearly who's continuing to develop and grow and who seems to be mired in quicksand. I guess to an extent it's a choice. But I do want to surround myself with people who are growing and who I look up to in some way.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 08:43:08 AM by kingrat »

LifeHappens

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2017, 09:12:05 AM »
As for growth though, I do mean that part. I've known these people my whole life, and I can see very clearly who's continuing to develop and grow and who seems to be mired in quicksand. I guess to an extent it's a choice. But I do want to surround myself with people who are growing and who I look up to in some way.
I totally agree with this. Keep seeking out those kinds of people.

Noodle

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2017, 09:20:19 AM »
A wise observation I read once is that some friendships are about sharing our experiences, and some friendships are about sharing our lives. Meaning--some friendships are about making it through the experience of being a college freshman, or a parent of young children, or co-workers in a dysfunctional workplace together. There's nothing wrong with it--there are some experiences our "forever friends" can't share with us--but it does mean that when those experiences are over the friendships have run their course too. (And occasionally, of course, you find that there was a forever friendship hidden underneath!)

So it sounds like these friendships were "experience friendships" and their time is over. It's OK to be a little sad about that and also to move on to the next set of experiences and friends. I also think this has something to do with why friends can be harder to find as we get older...we have more inner resources and don't need or seek out "experience friends" so much.

Metta

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2017, 10:52:48 AM »
As for growth though, I do mean that part. I've known these people my whole life, and I can see very clearly who's continuing to develop and grow and who seems to be mired in quicksand. I guess to an extent it's a choice. But I do want to surround myself with people who are growing and who I look up to in some way.


I agree with those who have said that this is just a normal part of life. Friendship circles change sometimes. I noticed it when my friends started to have children and I didn't. My friends pulled away from me and some of them looked down on me. I am sure that they thought that I didn't continue to grow and develop. (Some of them told me that a woman who has no children remains a child in their opinion, so I know that this attitude is present.)

I do want to point out that people grow at different rates and at different times. So people who seem like they are stagnant will suddenly change in unexpected ways in a short period and become different versions of themselves before settling down again to be their new self for a while.

As to surrounding yourself with people you look up to, sometimes that is hard if you make self-development in a specific area an important part of your life and you become good in this area. As you get better, it is natural that the pool of people who are better than you shrinks and you see them less frequently. So I urge you to meet people where they are and to remember that all people have value. You cannot know what is incubating inside someone that will eventually emerge.

COEE

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 06:11:47 AM »
I'll echo some of the others here with a story

I had a good friend and we had a couple things in common - both engineers, both liked volunteering with a certain school robotics league, and we both enjoyed kayaking (although he was always much better than me at all three of these things).  As time went on we grew to be better and better friends, often spending several days a week chasing Colorado whitewater.  Truly brothers from different mothers sort of thing.

As fate would have it, he ended up getting a divorce from his wife, and he encouraged me to leave a bad housing situation that my family was in, which ultimately required me to move across town.  His son was graduating high school and mine was entering elementary.  As he was becoming less family oriented and more kayaking oriented, I was hunkering down to become more family oriented and was finding I no longer wanted the thrill of running challenging whitewater.  We just naturally grew apart.  I like to think we helped each other through some rough times and shared many good laughs and beers in some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer.  The guy will always have a special place in my heart.

He eventually remarried to a kayaking doctor chick (very hard to find).  I saw the pictures of the wedding on facebook.  I wasn't invited.  That stung a bit.  No hard feelings here.  Love the guy - I want him to be happy and suspect that he is.

[edit to add:]
Long story short: It's completely natural for friendships to evolve.  Sometimes they happen gradually, sometimes quickly.  Some people don't want to change - others want to change.  We are all different.  Don't look down on your friends if they are stuck in the past.  Acknowledge that you too enjoyed your past, but are ready to move forward in the future... something your friends from the past may never be ready to do.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 06:48:28 AM by COEE »

des999

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 06:29:32 AM »
This is interesting to me, I often feel the same way.  I love my friends, but they are not interested in a lot of the same things I am.  I read so often people say you are the sum of the five people you associate with, and that worries me at times. 

I want to continue to grow and become a better person, but I don't always feel that friends feel the same way.  My interests are shifting away from theirs.  My wife even makes comments at times that they aren't the best influence on me.  It is very hard to just let good friends go.

I think a good start for me would be to just try to find a new situation where I might meet a couple new people with similar interests as mine.  Maybe that is why we all post on websites like this :)

Retire-Canada

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 07:03:28 AM »
What should I be doing here? I hope some of you have advice or stories to share. I could use the guidance!

Doesn't sound like you should be doing anything different. I didn't notice anything overly negative or condescending in your OP. People change and some friendships don't survive. That's nobody's fault. Maintain the relationships that seem healthy and mutually beneficial and let the other ones go.

« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 07:13:03 AM by Retire-Canada »

ooeei

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2017, 07:06:06 AM »
Hi Moustachians, I need some guidance.

I'm a genuine person

A lot of these friends have dead-end jobs but more importantly are not growing.

I see a lot of stagnation.

It's a bit depressing to see.

I see a lot of people getting really out of shape, which I see as a similar issue.

I'm social and make efforts to communicate about real things with all these people.

I'm friendly and generous

I'll echo the first comment that you sound pretty condescending. I've cut out some parts of your post to show what I'm talking about. I even bolded the "real things" part because that's the type of thing that people who think they're better than everyone else say. The implication above is that they aren't genuine people, and they don't talk about real things, whatever the hell that means.

I'm guessing if we can read into this sense of superiority based on one forum post, your friends who've known you for years are perceiving it as well, and they probably don't enjoy hanging out with you much anymore.

Almost every friend group reverts back to the stage in life where they were all together the most when they meet up, having similar conversations to when you were younger is normal. If it's not interesting to you, feel free to not go, but trying to "fix" your friends and show them what "real things" are is probably not going to be appreciated. These new friends will likely be the same in 10 years, what do you think that person you met while traveling in ____ country is going to talk about next time you see him? Probably when you were traveling in ____ country.

I'm picturing the conversation going like:

"Hey remember when so and so did such and such, that shit was hilarious."

"Yeah that was funny 10 years ago. So two weeks ago I was parasailing in the Caribbean, you guys really should go, it's amazing. Make sure not to stay in any touristy areas though, you simply MUST meet the locals and learn how they live. It will really open your eyes compared to staying here your whole life, I can't imagine if I'd never left. It's so rewarding to get out and see how other cultures live, traveling is how you meet REAL people. My buddy I met backpacking through Prague actually owns 3 craft breweries, we should take a trip and check it out, I'm sure he'd give us the VIP treatment."

"Ok.... So anyway it's getting late and I'm tired, probably gonna head out"

« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 07:15:37 AM by ooeei »

kingrat

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2017, 10:11:59 AM »
Hi Moustachians, I need some guidance.

I'm a genuine person

A lot of these friends have dead-end jobs but more importantly are not growing.

I see a lot of stagnation.

It's a bit depressing to see.

I see a lot of people getting really out of shape, which I see as a similar issue.

I'm social and make efforts to communicate about real things with all these people.

I'm friendly and generous

I'll echo the first comment that you sound pretty condescending. I've cut out some parts of your post to show what I'm talking about. I even bolded the "real things" part because that's the type of thing that people who think they're better than everyone else say. The implication above is that they aren't genuine people, and they don't talk about real things, whatever the hell that means.

I'm guessing if we can read into this sense of superiority based on one forum post, your friends who've known you for years are perceiving it as well, and they probably don't enjoy hanging out with you much anymore.

Almost every friend group reverts back to the stage in life where they were all together the most when they meet up, having similar conversations to when you were younger is normal. If it's not interesting to you, feel free to not go, but trying to "fix" your friends and show them what "real things" are is probably not going to be appreciated. These new friends will likely be the same in 10 years, what do you think that person you met while traveling in ____ country is going to talk about next time you see him? Probably when you were traveling in ____ country.

I'm picturing the conversation going like:

"Hey remember when so and so did such and such, that shit was hilarious."

"Yeah that was funny 10 years ago. So two weeks ago I was parasailing in the Caribbean, you guys really should go, it's amazing. Make sure not to stay in any touristy areas though, you simply MUST meet the locals and learn how they live. It will really open your eyes compared to staying here your whole life, I can't imagine if I'd never left. It's so rewarding to get out and see how other cultures live, traveling is how you meet REAL people. My buddy I met backpacking through Prague actually owns 3 craft breweries, we should take a trip and check it out, I'm sure he'd give us the VIP treatment."

"Ok.... So anyway it's getting late and I'm tired, probably gonna head out"

You're making a lot of assumptions here, but fair enough - I can see why you got that tone from my original post. I'm not the guy who brags about spearfishing in the caribbean, you'll just have to take my word on that. "Oh you MUST come down to martha's vinyard this summer"... yeah that's not me.

But I see your point. I shouldn't be trying to fix things, force conversations into a direction only I want them to go, or judge my friends so much. I can definitely see how I'm being overly judgmental of them, so thanks for pointing that out. But I hope you understand how seeing people I know go from healthy to obese in 5 years is concerning, or as I said, depressing. Because I think health things like that are often not isolated problems.

I think I know the direction I want to take this now. I'm going to try and stop being so judgmental and let things happen naturally. If we drift, then that's an unfortunate reality. But I'll make more effort to bring my best side to bear and focus on being a better friend to the people around me.

I'm pretty impressed by the maturity levels here on the forum! Glad to have all this feedback, thanks everyone.


Metta

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2017, 10:45:34 AM »
But I hope you understand how seeing people I know go from healthy to obese in 5 years is concerning, or as I said, depressing. Because I think health things like that are often not isolated problems.

You sound like a good person. Weight gain is often caused by external changes to one's life or emotional shocks. One thing I frequently see is that people who end up working very long hours at work (60-80 hour weeks) or who have babies or toddlers do not have time or energy to eat healthy and exercise and they gain weight. As these pressures ease, weight often responds, as well. There are also biological changes that happen as people age that make it harder to lose weight and, as is the case in all things human, some people have bodies that are less or more responsive to weight loss efforts.

I do not know your friends' lives, but I do know that the 30s and 40s are a really hard time for many people. Children are small and needy. Jobs are demanding. As one enters into the 40s (and 50s) parents begin to need time, money, and attention as well. There is a tremendous burden of responsibility that settles onto people's shoulders.

I also worry about my friends who are not currently losing the weight they have gained. And I worry about myself because I am having a hard time with weightloss as well. I think this is a widespread concern. My husband is a slender ultra-runner and he is constantly fretting about our friends' weight and worried because we don't want them getting sick or dying. I don't have a solution to worrying about other people, but just wanted to point out that you are not alone in this.

ooeei

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2017, 11:47:50 AM »
You're making a lot of assumptions here, but fair enough - I can see why you got that tone from my original post. I'm not the guy who brags about spearfishing in the caribbean, you'll just have to take my word on that. "Oh you MUST come down to martha's vinyard this summer"... yeah that's not me.

But I see your point. I shouldn't be trying to fix things, force conversations into a direction only I want them to go, or judge my friends so much. I can definitely see how I'm being overly judgmental of them, so thanks for pointing that out. But I hope you understand how seeing people I know go from healthy to obese in 5 years is concerning, or as I said, depressing. Because I think health things like that are often not isolated problems.

I think I know the direction I want to take this now. I'm going to try and stop being so judgmental and let things happen naturally. If we drift, then that's an unfortunate reality. But I'll make more effort to bring my best side to bear and focus on being a better friend to the people around me.

I'm pretty impressed by the maturity levels here on the forum! Glad to have all this feedback, thanks everyone.

I'll admit my fake conversation was an exaggeration, I doubt any reasonable person self aware enough to ask for help on a forum is actually THAT douchey. The reality is there have probably been some minor things that they have picked up on that are irritating, but in your context seem like genuine advice/conversation.

The obesity is a bummer, and there's a very limited amount you can do about it. I have some friends who I'd straight up tell they are getting fat and I'm worried about their health, and I think they'd take it well. Most people I know I'm not close enough to say that to, or we don't have that kind of relationship. Even if they do take the advice well, the reality is most people don't lose weight long term, so don't get your hopes up.

If they're changing into people you don't really like, the effort you put in to try and help them has to be proportional to the friendship. If it's your best friend of your entire life who you've been with through everything, do every single thing you can to help him. If it's a buddy from your college friend group who you see 1-2x a year, it's probably not worth trying. In the end you have to accept that it's their life, and their choice how to live it. If your "help" isn't responded to well and they aren't enjoyable to hang out with as they are, it might be time to distance yourself.

Good luck.

Cassie

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2017, 03:00:17 PM »
I am 63 and when young used to really worry when friendships grew apart. Now I know it is a part of life. I also will let things naturally die if I can see that we don't have much in common anymore.  New friends for that part of your life will appear.  People who are fat know it and don't need to have it pointed out to them.  Be supportive if they ask for advice.

jamesbond007

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 04:23:48 PM »
Define a friend's role and then you'll find your answer. Don't get me wrong. But, IMO, if you always want someone to look up to so it benefits you in some way or the other, then you are doing business. Not friendship. Again, please don't get me wrong. People call me very emotional when it comes to relationships. So take this with a ton of salt depending your thought process.

As long as you respect the other person's privacy, life choices, personality and still call that person a friend, then it doesn't matter what they do or whether they are satisfying your ego or not. There is a reason humans form relationships. It is not always a beneficiary - benefactor relationship.

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2017, 09:05:44 PM »
I would agree with others that friendships change and wane naturally. Maybe try spending less time with these people and you may find yourself appreciating the time you do spend more . I have more in common with newer friends I have made in life but there is something special about the people who knew you back when you were young. I like the relaxed feeling of being with old high school people because they knew me back when I was nobody, and it is like we are all back to being nobodies and on an even playing field when we get together. There is no ego involved in those interactions.

koshtra

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2017, 11:36:41 PM »
At my age -- pushing sixty -- a nice thing that happens is that some of the friends you grew away from come back, and the friendships are the richer for the different lives you've had in the mean time. Some of your friends may be stuck, but others may be traveling on roads that are out of your line of sight right now... I can pretty much guarantee you'll be surprised by some of them when they come back in view.

COEE

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Re: Growing out of my old friends
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2017, 04:23:38 AM »
At my age -- pushing sixty -- a nice thing that happens is that some of the friends you grew away from come back, and the friendships are the richer for the different lives you've had in the mean time. Some of your friends may be stuck, but others may be traveling on roads that are out of your line of sight right now... I can pretty much guarantee you'll be surprised by some of them when they come back in view.

Wow.  Wise words thank you.  I'll be watching.