Why It's Normal to Notice Changes in Your Friend Group
Have you ever heard the idea that you are a reflection of the five people you're closest to in life?
In a lot of ways, it makes sense—after all, your friends are the people who can shape so many of your experiences and help you create some of the best memories you'll ever have. Most people end up with a solid group of friends, but these friend groups aren't always the warm and welcoming circles we'd like them to be.
Changes in your friend group are normal, especially when you're in your teens and early twenties, and can happen for so many reasons. Here's why you shouldn't stress if you feel yourself getting closer to a new crew or notice members of your group starting to distance themselves:
1. We're All Still Figuring Out Who We Really Are
Here's a hot take: You don't need to stay friends with someone just because you've been friends for what feels like forever. Our society tends to idealize these lifelong best friends—the people that you've known since elementary school, kindergarten or maybe even before—but in reality, you may have no other reasons for maintaining these relationships. If your childhood BFF is secretly pretty toxic or just doesn't align with your values anymore, it's okay to start distancing yourself and let yourself get closer to people that do support you or align with your goals and values.
2. Personal Interests May Have Changed
While we're still in school, most of our friendships form out of proximity. After all, it's a lot easier to make friends with the girl you sit behind in English class every day than the one you only see in passing on the staircase every few days. Because of this, we often attach to people who share similar interests, especially when it comes to extracurriculars or certain electives. It gives you something to talk about and bond over that maybe others don't understand, which is great! Except that sometimes we get new hobbies or lose interest in the things that used to bring us joy, and that's okay too. If the only glue holding your friend group together is a niche interest you or they no longer care for, it's completely fine to start looking for new connections that are based on things that hold a little bit more depth.
3. Relationships Start to Develop
We all know the classic tale of the girl who starts dating some guy and then seems to fall off the face of the earth. While nobody likes this person, most of us can admit that the presence of romantic relationships have the power to greatly change a friend group. Whether two members of the group start dating each other or someone simply starts getting more comfortable with their person and starts to spend more time with that person's friends, it's kind of normal for friends to change when their relationship statuses do too. If you feel that your friend is becoming a completely different person or starting to mistreat you because of their romantic partner, you should feel okay voicing that to them. But if someone just isn't around as much or starts showing interest in things they didn't before they started dating, that's pretty normal and you shouldn't make them feel guilty about it.
4. People Have Different Priorities
As we get older, you may start to notice that some people are willing to put in effort to keep friendships going while others are not. Maybe you moved to a different city during high school or started a new club where you met new people that you clicked with, but no matter what the situation may be you'll soon notice that your squad may not be as tightly knit as you had once thought. The thing is, that's actually completely okay, especially since it will show you which friends are willing to make the effort to still hang out and preserve the friendship and who will take issue with your forming new friendships.
Remember, a friend group is not a clique and should never be treated as such. If you've met people that you connected with better in one weekend than with the friends you've known since the first grade, it's more than okay to start spending more time with those people and even to let old friends go if they aren't adding anything positive to your life anymore. What they say about the people you surround yourself with is true, so surround yourself with people you admire and support and who do the same for you right back.
Whether you have a solid set of friends already or you're noticing some changes in the works, you might have seen a few of the same characters repeating again and again. Click HERE to explore the seven types of friends you'll in every friend group.