People who lose connection with close friends as they get older usually display these 9 behaviors (without realizing it)

by Eliza Hartley | June 19, 2024, 5:27 pm

As we journey through life, our relationships often take unexpected turns. Sometimes, without even realizing it, we can find ourselves inadvertently pushing away those closest to us.

The truth is, as we grow older, it’s natural for friendships to evolve and sometimes even drift apart. It’s not that we intend for it to happen, but rather, our habits and behaviors can unknowingly create distance.

In this article, we’ll delve into 9 common behaviors that tend to drive a wedge between friends.

So, take a moment to dive in, and you might just discover a few tweaks you can make to nurture stronger, more enduring friendships.

1) Overcommitment

Life gets busy as we get older. Careers, family, and myriad responsibilities can make us feel overwhelmed. And it’s during these times that we might unknowingly push our friends to the periphery.

Overcommitment is one of the common behaviors that can lead to a loss of connection with close friends. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but as we age, how we choose to allocate these hours changes.

Often, without even realizing it, we find ourselves prioritizing work meetings over catch-up calls with friends or choosing to finish a project over attending a friend’s gathering.

It’s not that we don’t value our friendships anymore; it’s just that we unintentionally end up putting them on the back burner.

2) Lack of communication

I remember a time when I was building my career and juggling a young family. I was so engrossed in my daily routine that I didn’t realize how infrequently I was contacting my close friends.

Lack of communication is a behavior that creeps in subtly. Between office deadlines, family engagements, and personal responsibilities, it’s easy to think, “I’ll call them tomorrow,” and before you know it, weeks or even months have passed.

This happened to me. I found myself saying, “I’ll call them over the weekend,” but the weekend would come and go filled with chores and family time. It was never intentional, but my delay in reaching out slowly created a distance.

Here’s the deal: Keeping the lines of communication wide open is non-negotiable if you want to keep your friendships rock-solid.

And guess what? It doesn’t have to be a marathon chat session every time. A simple text check-in or sharing a meme can do wonders to keep that bond alive and kicking.

3) Neglecting shared interests

Psychologists have zeroed in on this: Engaging in activities and hobbies together isn’t just fun—it’s vital for maintaining those bonds that matter most.

Whether it’s cheering on your favorite team, hitting the trails, or dissecting the latest reads, these shared experiences forge memories and deepen connections.

But here’s the kicker: As time ticks on and our interests take different turns, it’s easy to let those shared activities slip through the cracks. And that, my friends, can pave the way for a slow fade in the friendship.

So here’s the game plan: make sure to carve out time for those shared passions or even embark on new adventures together. It’s essential for ensuring that your friendship not only survives but thrives—no matter how the sands of time shift.

4) Taking friendships for granted

As humans, it’s easy for us to take things for granted, especially when they’ve been a constant in our lives. And this can sometimes extend to our friendships as well.

When we’ve known someone for a long time, it’s easy to feel comfortable and assume they’ll always be there. We might neglect to show appreciation or take the time to really connect, thinking there will always be another opportunity.

However, this can create a sense of being undervalued in the other person. Over time, this could lead to friends drifting apart.

It’s essential to recognize and appreciate the value our close friends add to our lives. Regularly expressing gratitude and appreciation can go a long way in maintaining strong friendships as we age.

5) Letting conflicts go unresolved

Disagreements and conflicts are a natural part of any relationship, including friendships. As we age, we might face situations where our opinions differ from those of our friends.

The problem arises when these conflicts are left unresolved. The discomfort of addressing the issue may lead us to avoid our friends, leading to a drift in the relationship.

It’s crucial to remember that every conflict presents an opportunity for growth. Addressing disagreements, apologizing when wrong, and forgiving can actually strengthen the bond.  

6) Failing to adapt with changes

Life is a journey of constant change. As we age, we all go through different phases and transitions. Maybe your friend has moved to a new city, started a family, or changed careers.

Sometimes, these life changes can create a gap in our understanding and acceptance. We might find it hard to relate or adjust to the new dynamics, leading to a sense of disconnect.

It’s important to remember that at the core of every friendship is love and understanding. Embracing these changes, being patient, and learning to adapt can help preserve the bond.

After all, true friendship isn’t about being inseparable; it’s about being separated and knowing nothing will change.

7) Not being there in times of need

I recall a time when a close friend was going through a tough phase. I, on the other hand, was engrossed in my own world of challenges. Despite knowing they needed me, I couldn’t manage to be there for them.

The sad truth is that during our own struggles, we can sometimes overlook the struggles of others. But it’s during these challenging times that our friends need us the most.

Being absent in a friend’s time of need can strain the relationship and create a sense of loneliness and disappointment in the other person.

Regardless of our personal battles, it’s essential to make an effort to be there for our friends when they need us. An understanding ear or a comforting word can make all the difference.

8) Not reciprocating efforts

Friendships are a two-way street. They demand mutual respect, care, and effort. But as we get older, we can sometimes become complacent and forget to reciprocate the efforts our friends make.

Maybe a friend always initiates contact, plans meetups, or remembers your special dates. If these actions are not reciprocated over time, it can lead to a one-sided friendship and eventually cause a drift in the relationship.

It’s important to be actively involved in the friendship, initiating contact, planning activities, and showing that you care just as much. Remember, it’s the small gestures that often make the biggest impact.

9) Forgetting to nurture the friendship

Friendships, like any relationship, need nurturing. As we age, we can sometimes forget this simple fact. We might get caught up in our individual lives and forget to invest time and effort into maintaining and growing our friendships.

The most important thing to remember is that friendships are not just about being there in times of need or sharing fun times together. It’s about continually building and nurturing the relationship, understanding each other’s growth, and evolving together.

In the end, it’s the investment of time, patience, understanding, and love that keeps a friendship alive through the trials of time and the challenges of aging.

The art of staying connected

Friendships are truly the backbone of our lives. They bring us joy, offer unwavering support, broaden our horizons, and enrich our experiences in ways we couldn’t imagine.

However, as we journey through life, it’s essential to recognize that maintaining these relationships requires intentional effort and awareness. We must be mindful of our actions, understand their impact on our friendships, and actively work to bridge any growing divides.

While we evolve and transition through different phases of life, let’s never lose sight of the significance of nurturing these invaluable connections. Let’s continue to grow and develop, but always cherish and prioritize the bonds that have stood the test of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *