Life

The Changing Circle of Friendship

I unfollowed a few old friends last night on Facebook. I had known some of these people since I first moved to this area. I had laughed at their jokes, sat on their porches for chats…some of these people had been regular visitors to my home for years.

But something has changed inside of me these past few months. I found myself taking different routes as I ran my errands to avoid their houses.

I found myself deliberately cutting conversations short.

Then I found myself growing frustrated over their social media posts.

They talk about the same things all the time, I sighed to myself.

While I didn’t unfriend them entirely, I did stop their posts from appearing in my feed. I no longer cared about their most recent breakups or the battles they were waging with their neighbors across the street.

I was tired of watching them brag about their latest purchases one week, only to complain that their electric was shut off the next.

I was frustrated at their constant discussions of poverty. I’m poor too but instead of complaining, I hit the books even harder.

Facebook dinged at me as I finished my task. I glanced at the name and then closed out the page.

I wondered at that as I settled down to read. Was I becoming cold? Was I so driven to succeed that I was deliberately distancing myself from others?

The accusation had been leveled at me recently. I had forgotten how to have ‘fun,’ one friend complained.

I ended up spending a restless night as the puzzle turned in my brain. What was causing this change in behavior?

I’d noticed that I was becoming lonely. I’d noticed that I was sharing less of myself to others around me.

I’d even noticed a growing frustration as I found less and less to talk about with my friends. I found myself actively working to keep them talking to me so that I could avoid facing the fact that I no longer had anything to contribute.

The wee hours of the morning caused me to turn the question on its head:

Was there anyone in my life now that I associate with more?

To my surprise, the answer was yes.

I discuss the stock market and business issues with my neighbor, who happens to be a manager at the store next to mine.

I commiserate over the frustration of trying to juggle work and self-improvement with a friend who is attending college. Like me, she finds herself fighting for the right to improve her life with friends who want her to hang out with them instead.

I find myself cherishing the nights when I get to work with a friend who became a CNA, got a better paying job, and dropped down to working only one night a week at the store.

She plans to aim for a nursing degree now.

I realized that I have more in common with the kid who recently graduated BASIC after joining the Army Reserves, and I look forward to seeing one friend stop in the store after work. She managed to escape her job in fast food to become a preschool instructor.

I’ve even noticed the revival of a friendship that started back in the fourth grade. We chat more now than we have in years.

I recalled reading once that we are a reflection of the five people we spend the most time with. I didn’t think much about it at the time I first encountered the theory; I’d been a frustrated single mother just trying to make ends meet back then so I’d dismissed the notion as nonsense.

Over a decade later I’ve finally realized that there is truth in those words.

As You Change, So Do Your Friends

It is completely normal to change over time, especially if we embark upon a plan of self-improvement. We instinctively gravitate towards others who, just like us, want to change their lives.

This epiphany helped me to realize that I’m not becoming snobbish or jaded.

I’m not spending too much time focusing on my work.

I’m just changing, and with that change I now have less in common with the people from my past.

It is a sign that I am making progress.


Have you noticed your friends changing over time? How does that make you feel? Please share your stories in the comments below.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  • Karen

    The book about financial Mindsets talks about this change…I’m at the beginning of this change myself as I transition from working in a public job to being a full time artist. Spending time with my artist friends is the best. I no longer care to hear about office politics… Please keep writing, Annie, as I’m going through a big life transition, too, not only with my job but also as a caretaker for my mom who has moved into assisted living so my role as caretaker is changing, too.

    • Annie

      I loved the book about financial mindsets! It was one of the first books I devoured. Please keep me posted on your progress. It is nice to know that I’m not alone when it comes to life transitions.

  • jacquesouest

    Yes, I noticed this all My life. I lost childhood friends, when I was pushed into gifted school. Lost friends, every move, and I move ALOT! Lost friends when I got poor , ewww poverty what can I get from Him now”? Now Im wealthy I have lost friends from jealousy. Now it seems loses are more due to racism, statism, feminism, all kinds of isms. Hehe Dont worry pal I still think your keen.

    • Annie

      Bwahahaha! Did you ever get my email? I sent you a reply but I’ve not received a response yet.

      I’ve lost quite a few friends due to moving over the years but this is a new shift. I’m curious to see how it works out.

  • Angela

    Wow! This is an interesting post. I think the fact that you can feel your social circle changing is a very real indicator that you yourself are changing. I think you should feel very pleased with yourself, as that is real progress. Not to say it will all feel like a perfectly smooth transition- letting go of outgrown relationships can be difficult.

    I appreciate you posting so often, and letting us in on your life. I can relate somewhat, as I too am in a bit of transition. Like you, my daughter just graduated high school ( I quit my job some years ago to be a stay at home mom) and now I need to figure out what the next season of life is going to look like.

    I think you’re doing the right thing. And remember, you’re worth it!

    • Annie

      Hello Angela!

      I am trying to keep up a regular posting schedule to provide some normality to my life as I go through this change. Routines can be beneficial to provide stability in chaos, I’ve learned.

      I am rather surprised at how quickly the changes are occurring! I’m curious to see what’s going to happen next. I will definitely keep everyone posted!

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