There is no doubt that our circle of friends shrinks as we get older. Such is the way of life. As they say, you really are not growing and moving forward if you have not lost a few friends along the way.
The truth is, not every friendship can stand the test of time. As we mature and forge a different path from our friends, we tend to lose touch, realize that we have other priorities, or find that we no longer have things in common.
As friends grow apart, they also grow out of enjoying each other's company. Two people who were once very close can end up as strangers - even without a huge argument or a betrayal taking place. This is probably one of the saddest realities in this world.
Most people will not be honest about this change. They will never voice out these thoughts because they do not want to be rude. Or maybe your friend doesn't respect you and doesn't bother to tell the truth. What they will do is avoid you, act polite, and phase you out.
It helps to be able to know how to tell if someone doesn't want to be your friend anymore to save yourself from heartbreak early on. Here is a list of telltale signs that your friendship has taken a different turn.
Signs that someone doesn't want to be your friend anymore
You are always the one who reaches out first
Sometimes you can't help but notice that you always make the first move - asking for a catch-up over coffee, dinner dates, or simply sending a chat. It feels like you are always running after them and begging for their time and attention.
This could be a sign that they are no longer interested in making an effort to see or talk to you.
Plans are often canceled
If you do manage to agree to meet up, you notice that more plans are being canceled compared to the number of plans being pushed through.
Your friend may give you lame excuses on their last-minute cancels or ask to reschedule but may be vague about giving an actual date, and then they actually won't get back to you with one.
Remember, you deserve a friend who wants to spend time with you as much as you want to spend time with them.
Excuses do not add up
Of course, there are times when your friend may be busy juggling their careers and family. It is always the social life that has to take a back step in times like this. They will have to cancel on you, and you should be fine with that - unless their excuses do not add up.
If you find that a friend's excuse to cancel on you is a lie, that's a red flag.
If a friend has to come up with a weak and lame excuse not to be with you, it simply means that they do not really respect you enough to be honest with you.
Focus is short
Ever felt like you are the only one keeping the conversation going? Or that your friend is not really listening as you update them with whatever is going on with your life? Do they just give you short answers when you ask them questions?
This could show that they are no longer interested in what is going on with your life, nor are they willing to share what is going on in theirs.
Communication is important in maintaining a friendship, and it takes two to communicate. Conversations should be fun and engaging – there must be a back-and-forth dialogue and a natural interest.
You have been replaced as the constant companion
You and your best friend may seem inseparable since you met in school, but as you graduate and go separate ways, you may notice that you no longer share the same interests anymore.
Instead of having you as a constant companion, your friend may be spending more time with a friend they met at work. Suddenly, you feel left out.
If your friend does not make an effort to include you in this "new world" and "new friendship," it could mean that she prefers the newcomer over you. Maybe they have the same goals, and working together has solidified the foundation of their friendship.
Take it as a sign that you have grown into different directions and now want different things.
Should you end the friendship?
When you realize that you are ticking off the majority of the signs in the list above, it is probably safe to conclude that something has changed, and you should accept that things will never be the same again.
Do you have to end the friendship? Of course not! You do not have to burn bridges just because you do not hang out as much as you used to. Some friendships survive by just seeing each other for reunions once a year. You can have that too!
You can still remain friends but do not expect to retain that closeness. After all, you just can't have a friendship based on what you had in the past. What is happening to your friendship in the present matters the most.
Don't jump to conclusions too fast!
If unsure, it helps to ask your friend if something is wrong before you jump to conclusions. You can always ask a friend why they are being distant.
It is not that you are crying out for their attention. You just want to make sure that your efforts to maintain the friendship are going somewhere.
This conversation can go two ways: a heart-to-heart talk about the neglected friendship where you end up making compromises on how to make things better, or you end up arguing until your friendship reaches its inevitable end. Either way, you end up with clarity - whether you still have that friend or not.
You have to expect that bringing this out in the open will affect your friendship – even if you both make plans to work better in maintaining the relationship. A friendship does not have a "redo" button. You can not reset it to factory settings and pretend nothing has happened.
Things may go better, but things can get worse too. Either way, you have to manage your expectations once you decide to confront your friend about this.
Friends should stand as a fun support system that can save you from the realities of life. Friends should not be an additional problem that you have to solve. Knowing how to tell someone who doesn't want to be your friend anymore can save you a lot of time, effort, and heartbreak.
Remember, friendships should be mutual and uplifting. We must be able to assess the quality of our relationships and be honest about it.
Otherwise, you'd just end up playing mind games with each other to keep up the charade of being friends.
Friendship is a two-way street. As long as you put in the effort to communicate and catch up, you have done your part in maintaining the friendship. And if that effort is not reciprocated? It's their loss - they miss out on a great friend that you are!
Instead of running after old friendships that have faded away, why not concentrate on new friendships?
Appreciate the people around you who make an effort to be in your life. Surround yourself with people who support you and who want to spend time with you. You may not have years of history with these people, but they are your tribe now.
Go where the love is.
Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.