14 things to do when you feel like you’re outgrowing your friends

You know the feeling. You’re sitting there at the bar or the café.

Or the rodeo (it’s your scene, I’m not judging!). You’re with your friends.

There’s usually that sparkle between you. And that full engagement in the conversation. You’re usually keen to share with them. And to hear their news, thoughts and feelings.

But not today.

Maybe you feel bored. You’re zoning out. You’re distant.

Maybe you’re even frustrated or upset. It’s like you’ve got nothing in common anymore. Or as if there’s a wall between you.

Maybe the friendship is just having an off day (or week, or month…)

Or maybe you’re outgrowing your friends.

If you’ve been feeling like this lately, don’t worry. I’m here to help you navigate the situation with kindness, while staying true to yourself.

So, let’s explore.

1) Talk to them

First thing’s first. I advise actually talking to your friends about this. Unless there are reasons why you really, really can’t, and we’ll come to that next.

In most cases, talking to your friends is the mature thing to do. Of course, you don’t have to say, “I feel like I’m outgrowing you.”

You could express that you’ve felt a distance between you. Or ask them how they’re feeling about the activities and times you share together.

Open up a space for conversation. In many cases, if you’re feeling something, the other person will be feeling it too. Or at least feeling picking up that something’s off.

Of course, different situations need different actions.

Talking may not be a great idea if your friends are emotionally immature.

2) Make a graceful exit

If that’s the case, you may have to flat-out leave the friendship.

Maybe you’ve realised you don’t feel safe in a friendship where there’s lots of gossiping, competition or joking about people’s pain.

Maybe you didn’t see this in your friends before. Or you ignored it to fit in. Now, for whatever reason, you’ve seen the light.

In a case like this, your gut feeling may be that discussion wouldn’t be a safe thing. It could end in fireworks, or even bullying or abusive behaviour.

Of course, we all want to be as kind as we can, but that includes being kind to yourself. You need to look after you. Don’t take your new, more sensitive and mature self and walk into a lion’s den with it.

Also make sure you…

3) Call on other friends or family for support

Friendship break-ups are harder than many people realise. Don’t go through it alone. Spend time with more supportive friends and family. Let yourself feel valued and nurtured.

If you’ve shared the details with them, they can help remind you of why you ended the friendship too. And they can help you resist the temptation to start it up again, just like with an ex!

4) Don’t judge yourself

Remember, you’re not judging the friends you’re letting go of. You’re just realising they aren’t good for you. You’re walking away with love, wishing them nothing but the best.

So there’s no need to judge yourself. You don’t need to be more tolerant, kinder or to give more. You just need to value and love yourself, and to follow your instincts about what’s right for you.

No judgements. No hard feelings.

5) Give it time

This could be a good course of action if you or your friend(s) are going through tough times in other areas of your lives.

Maybe you just need to run the friendship in a low gear for a while. Wait and see where you all are when things have settled down. You may feel or behave differently, or they might.

Here’s another perspective-giving thought for you…

6) Life is long

You may be growing apart from certain friends now. But you may well grow back together again.

Life-long friendships aren’t straight train tracks that run along parallel at exactly the same distance all through life. They’re more like meandering paths. They take you through lush forest, open meadow, choppy waters – and sometimes a sludgy, stinky bog.

Right now, you may just be standing on a part of the path that’s harder going.

Just having this zoomed-out perspective can really help. This can be another reason to keep a friendship ticking over even if you do feel that you’re outgrowing it.

7) Look at yourself…

pic2540 14 things to do when you feel like you're outgrowing your friends

Before taking any action in the friendship arena, have a good look at yourself.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Am I the one being judgemental, defensive, closed, unkind or demanding here?

Am I being humble and really valuing my friends, or has my ego gotten into the driving seat?

Am I making the mistake of thinking my friends have to be like me?

Or that they have to grow in the same direction as me?

Am I advocating for my needs in the friendship?

Am I letting them know what I truly want and enjoy?

Am I over-giving or being too flexible, leading to resentment later on?

Don’t start judging yourself at this point! We’re all learning and growing all the time.

However, do reflect. You’re much more likely to make positive connection with your friend if you are coming from a place of honest and authenticity within yourself.

Then, whether or not they look at their side of things is up to them.

8) Be positive…

So, you’ve had a slow shift or sudden revelation that changes things with your friends. The pesky mind always wants to make what you did ‘before’ bad or wrong.

But it’s not.

Be positive about the time when the friendship thrived. No one did anything wrong.

And definitely don’t try and ‘help’ your friends change in your direction – that’s got the mind and ego written all over it!

9) Help them understand your needs…

So, maybe, on reflection, you realised you haven’t shared clearly what you need from the friendship. Or perhaps you’ve realised that your needs have changed.

You’re in a different place now.

Are you giving your friends the chance to meet you where you are?

Check out this great video, Help People Adjust to You Changing, by psychology Master’s student Heidi Priebe. It’s all about opening dialogue, sharing your needs and deepening intimacy within friendships.

10) Shake it up…

Maybe it’s not your friends but your friendship that needs a shake-up.

Are you bored of the conversation topics?

Do you go to the same old places?

Are the once-loved familiar grooves getting a bit too familiar?

The issue could be with the relationship between you, not just with your friend.

Friendships need nurture, new ground, shift and shake up too, just like romantic relationships. So, book a rock-climbing weekend if you usually spa, or a quiet movie night if you’re always in noisy bars. Better still, ask your friend what new thing they’d like to do!

Shake things up and challenge yourselves to try something new. While you both learn and grow, you’ll get to know each other again too.

Which brings me to…

11) Are you really there?

Have you already checked out of the friendship? Maybe you have, but just haven’t consciously realised it yet.

Get back in the room and really look to connect before pulling the plug on a friendship.

During chats, try active listening, tuning into your heart and getting more present in body. Even if the topic isn’t riveting, you can engage and relate human to human.

12) Listen to your gut, intuition, body…

So, we’ve stirred the waters of that nagging feeling about your friendship.

We’ve looked at friendships being long and winding roads.

We’ve looked at what you’re bringing to the table (or holding back).

What have you discovered? Is it time to shake it up with new activities? Time to have a chat about things? Time to take the friendship down a gear? Time to let them go with love?

13) Focus on self-growth

If you’ve outgrown your friends because they’re emotionally immature, great!

Leaving the friendship means:

  • You feel safe enough with yourself to listen to how you feel
  • You now see where you were compromising your values to be accepted
  • Your values and maturity levels have evolved for the better

Be proud of yourself and look forward to a future with friends more aligned with who you are!

14) Set the tone for the future

If you’re not parting company with your friend, you can still reset the friendship going forward.

You may need to:

  • Put in a boundary – decide what you will and won’t accept and stick to it.
  • Take a break – let your friends know you’ll be busy for a while and see how the change of routine feels.
  • Lead by example – when immature behaviour comes up, change the subject, say a kind word or leave.

Step in, step up and see what happens.


So, when it comes to re-evaluating friendships, stay humble and be self-aware. But listen to you, and always proceed with both kindness to others and self-love.

You deserve good friends who treat you, and others, with kindness and respect.

Those friends will come as you value yourself more and let go of unhealthy relationships.

Picture of Kelly Mckain

Kelly Mckain

I’m Kelly McKain, the author of over sixty fiction titles – my latest is The Feeling Good Club , a mindfulness series for kids. I love writing, yoga, horses, dancing and spending time in nature – as well as hanging out with my amazing kids and partner. I’m also a qualified Breathwork Facilitator and the founder of Soulsparks , a platform for intuitive guidance, energy healing and exploring non-duality. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram .

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