Asking for a Friend: Help! My best friend and I have grown apart. What should I do?

  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources they can turn to
  • This week, we help a student who wonders what to do after growing apart from their pal
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What do you do when you and your bestie just aren’t in sync anymore? Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us. If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google Form. Don’t worry – you will remain anonymous!

My new pal dumped me; how do I get my old one back?

Dear Friend,

My best friend is no longer my bestie, and it’s made me question myself. What should I do?

Signed, Distant

Dear Distant,

Since we spend so much time with our friends and they are essentially our chosen family, it can be difficult to realise you are growing apart from someone or that you aren’t as close as you used to be. These things happen, sometimes for a reason, and sometimes just because. It doesn’t make it any easier, of course – just know that you are not alone.

In response to your request, here are a few things you can do:

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Take care of yourself

Intense emotions, like distrust or anger, can bubble to the surface due to the change in friendship. It is always a good idea to give yourself some time to settle down and process the situation. Don’t stop doing what you enjoy – you might be tempted to because you are feeling depressed – but doing your favourite activities will help you calm your mind and deal with your feelings.

Feel what you feel, and don’t put yourself down for it. However, you also need to accept that your friend has their own feelings about your relationship, and you probably can’t change them.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of love! Photo: Shutterstock

Talk to your pal

Does your friend realise that the two of you have grown apart? Was it intentional? It could be worth sitting down with your friend and having a heartfelt conversation about your relationship. Don’t blame them for the change; just mention how you feel.

It could be that your pal has been dealing with something they were too nervous to talk about, which made them distance themselves, or that they didn’t realise the two of you have been growing apart. A nice chat might clear things up between the two of you.

Tips for maintaining a friendship

Keep an open mind

Just because you two have grown apart, it doesn’t mean your friendship is over – it’s just different. The two of you still have your experiences together, so treasure those memories and how they made you who you are today. Friendship is constantly evolving, and even if the two of you aren’t close now, that doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

Tell your friend that you will always be there for them, but give them the space they need to make their own decisions. In the meantime, focus on yourself, your family and your other friends.

Hope that helps, Friend of Friend

The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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