Friendship is a journey, one that takes us through all kinds of landscapes.
Sometimes, we follow the same path with our friends, growing and evolving together.
At other times, it may feel like you’ve outpaced them, that you’re moving in different directions or even leaving them behind.
You might find yourself asking, “Why should I keep these friendships when it feels like I’ve outgrown them?”
After spending countless hours reflecting on my own friendships and those around me, I’ve come to understand the immense value these relationships hold.
So let’s delve into this topic and explore 7 reasons why it’s essential to keep your friends around you even when you feel like you’re outgrowing them.
1) They promote continuous growth
Change is an inevitable part of life.
Just like seasons, we evolve, transforming into different versions of ourselves.
This evolution doesn’t always occur in sync with our friends, and that’s perfectly okay.
Let me explain why:
The sensation of outgrowing your friends doesn’t necessarily imply that your relationships have lost their value.
Rather, it’s a testament to your personal growth, maturity, and the unfolding of your unique identity.
It’s important to remember that growth isn’t a straight line — it’s a path riddled with ups and downs, unexpected twists, and turns.
Today, you might feel like you’re moving ahead, but tomorrow your friends might be the ones to surprise you with their own leaps forward.
During these transformative times, keeping your friends close can be incredibly valuable.
They provide perspectives and insights that are distinct from your own, enhancing your understanding of your personal journey.
Most importantly, their presence during your growth stages isn’t just comforting — it’s a reminder of the enduring strength and value of lasting friendships.
2) To feel the comfort of familiarity
In our quest for growth and self-improvement, we often lean towards newness – new experiences, new people, new ideas.
This is undeniably beneficial.
But in this constant chase for the new, we may undervalue the comfort and stability that comes with familiarity.
I know you’re feeling like you’ve outgrown them, but your old friends still carry a shared history with you, right?
They’ve been part of your journey, witnessed your highs and lows, and understood you in ways that new friends might not yet grasp.
Yes, it’s easy to overlook this comfort of familiarity when it feels like you’re on different paths.
But here’s the counterintuitive truth:
Even when you’re aiming for growth, it’s not always about charging forward relentlessly.
Sometimes, it’s about pausing and appreciating the constants in your life.
So even if you feel you’re outgrowing them, their presence can still be a source of reassurance and grounding in your life.
Your old friends can serve as a reminder of who you were and how far you’ve come.
3) They offer patience and understanding
Patience and understanding are two virtues that we all strive to embody, yet they often require challenging situations to truly develop.
Having friends that you feel you’ve outgrown can provide just that opportunity.
I recall a time when a close friend and I seemed to be drifting apart.
Our conversations felt strained, and our interests were diverging. I was exploring new hobbies and career paths, while she seemed content with where she was.
Initially, I felt a sense of impatience and frustration, believing we were moving in opposite directions.
However, this period of change brought an unexpected gift:
A deeper understanding of the nuances of human growth and the importance of patience.
As time passed, I realized that my friend’s journey was just as valid and significant as mine, even though it looked different.
Her steadfastness in her interests and her life choices taught me to appreciate the beauty of diversity in personal paths.
Now I consider this experience a poignant lesson in the value of patience and empathy in friendships.
It reminded me that growth doesn’t always mean moving in the same direction at the same pace.
And indeed — true understanding comes from recognizing and respecting each other’s unique journeys, even when they don’t align perfectly with our own.
4) Friendship is a source of longevity and health
There’s an interesting fact about long-lasting friendships that’s worth noting:
They have a positive impact on our health.
That’s right — friends can make us healthier, both emotionally and physically.
Believe it or not, studies show that stable, healthy friendships positively affect our well-being and longevity.
What does it mean?
Well, maintaining friendships that have weathered the storms of time, disagreements, and even feelings of outgrowing each other, can contribute to better mental and physical health.
They act as a support system, offering a shoulder to lean on during difficult times and cheering us on during moments of triumph.
These friends know your quirks, your strengths, and your weaknesses.
Yet they choose to stand by you.
This sense of acceptance and belonging can significantly lower stress levels, leading to better overall health.
5) To avoid reality of loneliness
We live in a world that’s more connected than ever, and yet, it’s a strange paradox that feelings of loneliness are on the rise.
As we grow and evolve, it’s natural to seek out new connections that align with our current selves.
But in this process, let’s not forget the value of the connections we already have.
Feeling like you’ve outgrown your friends can be a lonely experience. It might seem like you’re standing on one side of a widening chasm, unable to bridge the gap.
However, these feelings are just that – feelings.
They don’t always reflect the reality of your relationships.
Your friends may be navigating their own journeys, dealing with their own struggles and growth.
They may not be able to match your pace or be on the exact same page, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or value your friendship.
So before you let go of these friendships because you feel like you’ve outgrown them, take a moment to consider the alternative.
Is it worth risking the loneliness, simply because your paths currently seem divergent?
The raw truth is that maintaining these connections could be what keeps you anchored in an increasingly isolated world.
6) To learn the art of healthy disagreement
Let’s admit it:
We often cherish those friendships where we share similar views, agree on most things, and enjoy the same activities.
However, there’s an unexpected strength in maintaining friendships with those who don’t always see eye-to-eye with us.
Yes, it can be challenging when you feel like you’ve outgrown your friends, especially if you find your viewpoints and interests diverging.
Even more — it’s easy to dismiss these differences as signs of incompatibility.
But, it’s these very differences that can add a unique richness to your life.
Divergent views challenge us to look beyond our perspective, to question our beliefs and assumptions.
They stimulate intellectual growth and foster a spirit of open-mindedness.
As a result, our conversations become more vibrant.
Surprisingly, the friends you feel you’ve outgrown because of differing opinions might actually be expanding your world in ways you hadn’t considered before.
Trust me, they offer an opportunity for growth that’s hidden in plain sight – the growth that comes from embracing disagreement.
Because of the shared memories and experiences
Why do we hold onto friendships even when we feel we’re outgrowing them?
Often, it’s because of the rich tapestry of shared memories and experiences.
These memories form a significant part of our identity and our story.
Believe it or not, they’re not just reminiscences of the past — they’re the foundations upon which many of our current beliefs, values, and character traits are built.
Think about the moments that you’ve shared with these friends.
The challenges you’ve faced together, the adventures you’ve embarked on, the milestones you’ve celebrated, and even the mundane moments that have become precious over time.
- How have these experiences shaped you?
- Could these shared moments be the threads that weave together the tapestry of your unique life story?
The simple truth is that shared memories create a bond that is irreplaceable and unique to each friendship.
They offer a sense of continuity and belonging that is hard to find elsewhere.
Even as you grow and change, these memories serve as reminders of where you’ve come from and the journey you’ve shared.
This history is invaluable, providing both comfort in times of change and a grounded sense of self.
As I reflect on my own experiences and the discussions I’ve had with so many others about this feeling of outgrowing friends, a common thread emerges:
The importance of understanding our underlying values.
We often overlook the role values play in shaping our lives.
When we feel like we’re outgrowing our friends, it’s often a sign that our values are evolving.
Perhaps we’re prioritizing growth and self-improvement, while our friends value comfort and familiarity.
Or maybe we’ve developed a deep love for nature and environmental consciousness, while our friends remain indifferent.
In either case, we need to understand this in order to approach these friendships with greater empathy and patience.