The importance of relationships in our lives cannot be understated.
While widely covered by self-development authors, perhaps the most convincing source is the 80-year Harvard study I recently wrote a post on.
This study, the longest ever on happiness, suggests that it is not money or career success that makes us happy and healthy but positive relationships.
We all grow and develop at different rates in our lives, however, and sometimes, we find ourselves in relationships that are no longer good for us.
Is there someone in your life that you have outgrown?
Let’s find out.
Today, we cover five signs that this is the case.
1) They are holding you back
As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Whether this holds up or not, it is no secret that limiting beliefs can be dangerously contagious.
Do you feel like someone in your life is making you less confident or stomping on your dreams at every opportunity?
If so, you may have simply outgrown them.
The sad truth is, consciously or not, often our friends want us to stay on the ‘same level’ as them.
For example, if you have started making more money than your friends, some of them may resent this. And without realizing it, they may be holding you back.
The same goes for family life, fitness, or whatever goals you may have.
Think about it: Is their lack of support or outright negativity limiting your growth?
If so, you will at least need to find a way to limit the amount of influence they have over you.
Better yet, but more difficult, follow Mark Twain’s advice:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
2) You’re constantly trying to recreate “the good old days”
Ever feel like when you spend time with a friend or even your significant other, you are trying to recreate a relationship you once had?
Having lived abroad for almost a decade, when I visit home nowadays, I often feel this way. I find that with some old friends, we are clinging to nostalgia.
Don’t get me wrong; we have a good time reminiscing, but when that runs dry, we have little to talk about and little in common. The interactions become forced and awkward.
If you can relate, it is a sure sign that you have outgrown someone. There is nothing wrong with this; we all grow at different rates.
It can be difficult to accept, especially if you were once very close to this person and have fond memories of the time you spent together.
Take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I genuinely enjoy spending time with this person today, or am I just hanging on to the nostalgia?”
If it’s the latter, it’s worth considering if it’s time to let go.
Letting go is not about forgetting, however. You can still cherish the memories, but don’t taint them by forcing the relationship.
3) You can’t be yourself
In a healthy friendship, you should feel comfortable being your true self, quirks and all.
If you find that you’re constantly suppressing your personality, opinions, or emotions when you’re around this person, it’s a sign that the relationship may no longer be a good fit.
With real friends, you should be able to speak honestly on almost any topic, including sensitive topics like politics, religion, and even financial goals.
Something is amiss if you feel like you are constantly biting your tongue and avoiding being authentic for fear of upsetting or embarrassing your friends.
4) You don’t want to introduce them to your newer friends
Introducing friends from different phases of our lives is usually something we look forward to.
While it doesn’t always happen, we believe they will get on well and enjoy each other’s company.
After all, why wouldn’t they? They both like you.
If you are hesitant to introduce a friend, particularly an older friend, to other people in your social circle, it may well be a sign that you have outgrown that older friend.
Maybe you are concerned with how they will mesh with your newer friends. Or worse, you feel that they may embarrass you or even cause conflict.
Whatever the reason, it’s an indication that you need to take a hard look at your friendship with that person.
Try to get to the bottom of why you don’t want to introduce them to your other friends.
Be honest with yourself. If it is because you think they will embarrass you (it often is), you have probably outgrown them.
5) You always feel drained when you are with them
We all have a limit to how much socializing we can do before we need some time alone.
However, if a particular person in your life always makes you feel drained, it’s a red flag.
And if this wasn’t the case in the past, it probably means you have outgrown them. Healthy relationships should leave you feeling uplifted and recharged.
It may be hard to put your finger on what is causing you to feel this way.
Are you constantly listening to their negativity?
Is it hard to get a word in edgeways?
Do you feel there is always unneeded drama when you meet them?
Whatever the reason, feeling like your energy is being sucked out of you when you are with a person is a clear indicator that the balance in your relationship has shifted.
Like with many of the signs on this list, it’s best to take a step back before making any rash decisions on what to do. Assess how this relationship is affecting your overall well-being.
Is it worth the emotional toll it’s taking on you?
If this person was previously a close and valued friend, you should talk with them and express how you’re feeling.
If they’re receptive and willing to make changes, you might be able to salvage the relationship.
If they continue to drain your energy, it’s probably time to bid farewell.
Remember, your mental and emotional health should always be a top priority.
The bottom line
Recognizing when you’ve outgrown someone in your life is all about personal growth and well-being.
If any of these signs resonate with you, it might be time for some reflection. After all, your happiness and growth should be top priorities in your friendships.
As always, I hope you found this post enjoyable to read and that it has given you some food for thought.
Until next time.