For those times when you’ve lost a good friend and it’s hard to describe what you’re feeling, these poignant friendship quotes from Pinterest put the heartache of a friend breakup into words.
You may notice that your friendships change from year-to-year — the best friend you had last year may not even be in your inner circle anymore. It happens more often than you may think, and studies have been done that prove the theory that the older you get, the fewer friends you have. One such study, 'Sex differences in social focus across the life cycle in humans,' published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, found that many people start decreasing their friend pool around age 25. Scientists from Aalto University in Finland and the University of Oxford in England found this to be true by analyzing data from three million mobile phone users to determine frequency and patterns of those they contacted and when. They also looked at overall activity within those users' networks. If you think about it, you could do your own test and see who your top contacts are in your social media and text messages, as well as your phone call log. Chances are, you'll be surprised to see what people you talk to most now versus if you take a look at your top contacts from even a year ago, not to mention several years ago.
'I know that the decline in friendships continues as we get older,' Dr. Suzana E. Flores, clinical psychologist and author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Our Lives, tells Bustle. 'When we are in high school and college, it is easier to make friends because we are surrounded by groups of people with similar interests. However, as we get older, we lose this access and have to decide whether or not to befriend coworkers, which may come with its own complications.' She added that, as people age, they also prioritize the type of individuals they want around them. 'We hold onto our main group of friends versus maintaining associates,' Dr. Flores said.
According to the study's findings, the average 25-year-old woman contacts about 17.5 people per month, while a man contacts 19 people, and this decline continues up until retirement. 'People become more focused on certain relationships and maintain those relationships,' said Kunal Bhattacharya, a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University who co-authored the study. 'You have new family contacts developing, but your casual circle shrinks.'
Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Oxford who co-authored the paper, also weighed in on this theory.'Women have this idea of a best friend, who is similar to a romantic partner .. and women work hard at these relationships,' he said. 'Particularly with friendships, if you don't invest in them or see those friends, they will decay and quite rapidly drop.' All that said, here are seven reasons that the older you get, the fewer friends you have, according to experts.
While college is one of the easiest places to make friends, once you graduate and you and your classmates get separated by jobs or time zones, you'll likely lose some of your closest, day-to-day friends. 'If you're a young person, and losing high school or college friends, that's a natural progression,' Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka 'Dr. Romance') psychotherapist, and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together, tells Bustle. 'One needs only a few friends to live a happy life, especially in the early years.'
You've probably been there — one moment, you and your BFF hang out all the time .. but the next, they start dating someone and suddenly they're gone. Not gone for good, but you see them less and less as they become closer to their significant other and start to hone in on a future with them. 'Once people partner up, they will naturally focus more of their attention on their partners and less on people who they deem distant friends,' Dr. Flores says.
Just as your friends may go MIA when they couple-up, you may do the same when you meet someone you're really into. Though you hate to be that person, it may happen, especially when you and your partner get more serious, possibly move cities, or your life and relationship goals change. 'As one's relationship and family continues to grow, those commitments and responsibilities take priority,' Dr. Flores says. 'Therefore, our 'social' needs will naturally take a back seat to our primary and personal relationships.'
As technology continues to advance, more and more people have remote jobs and/or work from home, which means you may lose one primary place to meet people and make friends: the office. To create a balance between being alone all day working and still having a solid friend base, there are all kinds of ways to make friends, from joining Meetup groups to volunteering to using apps, like Bumble BFF.
Another way your friend pool may decrease is if you change cities, leaving your primary circle of friends behind. Although there are still ways you can make friends in your new city, you may choose to focus on making a select few and put your friend energy into those versus meeting as many people as you can. 'In our mobile society, keeping friends is not always possible,' Dr. Tessina says. 'Long‑term friendships are wonderful and valuable, but if you don't make new connections as you get older, your group of friends may diminish due to relocation.'
If you're shy about making new friends, Dr. Tessina suggests joining a community — whether it's an organization you volunteer with, a book club, or creating a social network. 'If you haven't made new friends in a while, updating your definition of friendship and increasing your skills at meeting people will be worth your while,' she says.
You often hear of friends drifting apart because their interests have changed. Whether this means they are now focusing more on their partner and kids, have become closer to other friends, or you prefer nights in while they prefer party nights out, whatever the reasons are, it's OK if you two no longer have the same interests. However, as a result, these friendships may fade.
You may know what it's like to be the friend who seems to put in more effort than the other person: you contact your friend more than they contact you, you initiate plans more, and you just feel that the friendship is unbalanced or one-sided. One way to test this is by not contacting the friend-in-question and seeing how long it takes for them to contact you. Or, you can talk to them about your friendship and ask what's changed.
'When I was younger, I loved my friends,' Jeffrey Sumber, psychotherapist, and author of Renew Your Wows: Seven Powerful Tools to Ignite the Spark and Transform Your Relationship, tells Bustle. 'I had fun with them, I felt good with them, I even felt myself with some of them. As I have aged, I tend to cherish my dear friends because they are the ones who give as much as they receive from the relationship.' He says friends he may have once considered 'best' friends might not be in the picture much anymore if he realizes he's the only one trying to maintain the friendship. 'I have less tolerance for excuses now, and I have very little tolerance for friends who don't show up on all levels,' he says. 'Life is too short for half-assed friendships.'
As you can see, friendships evolve over time for all kinds of reasons. The important thing is to focus on the friends you do have and make sure the friendships are reciprocal, so no resentment builds on anyone's end.
You’ve probably noticed that you have fewer friends now than you did in your teens, college years, and early twenties.
Don’t worry – it’s totally normal to lose friends as you get older.
It happens for a variety of reasons, and it doesn’t make you a bad friend!
You may have moved away from your college friends and then fallen out of contact.
When you make friends with people based on proximity, the friendship often changes or breaks down when you no longer see one another on a regular basis.
Perhaps you have had children, and now you can’t relate to your childfree friends – at least, not in quite the same way.
Maybe you’ve chosen to channel your energy into building a career, and suddenly find yourself working so many hours that socializing is no longer a priority.
Fortunately, losing friends isn’t always a bad thing.
In fact, it can change your social life for the better!
Not quite convinced?
Here are five reasons why shedding old friends can actually work out in your favor:
You may lose good friends as you get older, but you will also lose the toxic people who never made you feel uplifted or happy in their company.
You know who they are – those “friends” who whine, complain, never help you out, and even gossip about you behind your back.
There’s no point in holding onto them. You’ll feel better when they’re out of your life!
Meeting new people is like adopting a new view on life.
When you make new friends, your interests and tastes might change – and that’s a good thing!
New friends can also introduce you to other people, who in turn can broaden your horizons even further.
A common reason we tend to lose friends when we get older is a lack of time.
When you are young and have relatively few responsibilities, it’s easy to go out several nights a week.
However, once you enter the adult world and get a “real job,” you have to make some tough choices when it comes to your evenings and weekends.
Free pattern for skull cap. Specifically, you need to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy social life and working on your own self-development and hobbies.
A smaller social circle makes it easier to make time for yourself, which in turn benefits your career, intimate relationships, and general wellbeing.
When you have fewer friends, you can put more effort into building meaningful connections with those you see and talk to on a regular basis.
When you are young, having a large friendship group and feeling popular often seems important.
However, as you get older, you learn the value of having a few close friends that you can call on in times of need rather than a loose network of acquaintances.
Old friends are to be treasured, but hanging out with people you have known for many years can keep you stuck in the same old patterns.
For example, let’s say your college buddies always loved going to bars, and they all hold the same views when it comes to politics.
That’s OK – but they aren’t likely to help you try new things!
You might also notice that you fall back into a particular “role” when you are around certain people.
For instance, if you were always the joker among your group of high school friends, you might automatically revert to this role when you’re around them, even if you’ve outgrown that behavior.
The healthiest people manage to hold onto the friendships that nourish them, whilst forming new connections at the same time.
Losing and gaining friends is a normal part of life.
If you feel that your friends don’t quite fit your personality and lifestyle any more, reach out and form some new relationships.
Think of a hobby or interest you would like to pursue, and join a class or group.
It takes courage to make new friends, but it can be done!
If you miss some of your old friends, why not take a few minutes today to drop them a message?
Simply sending a short e-mail or a text message can be enough to rekindle a friendship.
Just remember that they might feel as though they have outgrown the friendship.
If so, don’t take it personally.
Focus on moving forward and making new connections instead.