Signs Your Outgrowing Friends and What to Do About It






Source: Elina Fairytale

In true social media fashion, I recently found myself scrolling through my Facebook home feed, only to land on a wedding video. I started watching, and my husband peered over my shoulder. “Who’s that?” He asked. “Oh, just this girl I used to be friends with,” I replied. Actually, she had been one of my best friends. So what happened? Well, we grew apart. And while the reasons we grew apart make sense in hindsight, I still feel a little sad thinking of her all these years later. I don’t think I’m alone: We all deal with friendships that take a different turn than expected, and it can be hard to deal with. Losing the thread of connection with a close friend sometimes feels more heartbreaking than the end of any romantic relationship. To help, we’ve compiled signs you’re outgrowing friends and what to do about it.

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1. You are both “too busy” all the time

You know that friend who never texts back? Or maybe they fail to respond to your emails, don’t return your phone calls, or are always “busy” when you try to make plans? Yeah, same. Considering that one of the most basic tenets of friendships involves (duh) talking to each other every so often, having that one friend who you simply can’t reach is problematic at best and annoying AF at worst. But it’s important to know the difference between truly mismatched schedules and a complete lack of interest. In other words, is a disconnect temporary or permanent?

If that person is going through a big change (i.e. new relationship, baby, divorce, new job, or a big move) it could just be that they’re busy. If they’re going through a hard time, they might need some space, or if they’re overstressed at work, they might feel too overwhelmed. If it is based on life circumstance, a friend would typically let you know. They might respond with, “Hey, I’m swamped this week with a project, not ignoring you!” or “I’m not feeling up to chatting lately due to my exhaustion/depression/anxiety, but I’ll be in touch soon.” If you keep reaching out and you’re getting zero ROI, stop investing in someone who doesn’t ever prioritize you.

 

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2. You don’t really care to connect

In contrast, what if you’re the person going MIA on your friends because you just don’t feel like getting together? Be honest with yourself and figure out why you’re backing off in the first place. Do you even like this person? Do you want to drop $50 on drinks over small talk with them? Do you get excited to put plans on your calendar, or do you say no every time you’re asked to hang? It sounds harsh, but friendship is often a simple matter of “have to” vs. “want to.” If a friendship no longer feels fun or fulfilling to you, don’t pretend like it is.

Now, this is the tricky part: deciding between an awkward conversation, bluntness that could hurt feelings, or ghosting. My advice is to do what feels right in a thoughtful fashion. There’s no reason to burn bridges, and the solution could be as simple as indicating that you don’t have extra capacity for friendship right then. Be honest but kind, and then move on so you can dedicate time and energy to people who actually matter to you.

 

3. You crave new friendships

Sometimes I think of the old Girl Scouts sing-song refrain: “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.” Real talk: You need both. However, sometimes the “old” friends are not worth keeping because you’ve simply grown in different directions. The most beautiful thing about outgrowing a friendship is that it opens up room for other, better connections.

Maybe you’re newly single and want more nights on the town or your wifed up friends don’t understand what you’re going through. Maybe you’re caring for a sick relative and need people who’ve been in your shoes. Maybe you just got fired, and your successful friends can’t quite understand. Whatever it is, honor what you need, and look for friendships that add to your life rather than subtract from it. Tend to those “old” friendships that are worth keeping, regardless of different life circumstances, but if you just have nothing in common anymore? It’s OK to leave those friendships and find better ones.

 

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4. The only thing you have in common is the past

I once knew a group of women who, when together, seemed to only talk about one thing: the past. That’s not necessarily bad, of course (I live for a good reminiscing session), but it becomes stagnant if you don’t have new memories too. For example, I met my best friend in 5th grade. We stayed close all throughout school, visited each other in college, and made a point to stay in touch every week since graduation.

When we get together, we can definitely bring up that time what’s-her-name flirted with my boyfriend after cheerleading practice or indulge in gossip about lives of people we both knew back then. But we’ve also both evolved; we can discuss everything from health care policy to date nights to favorite books. We’ve also supported each other as we’ve grown into the people we are now. Dwelling on the past can be fun, but your friendships should support the present and future you too. Focus on friendships that can change with you, instead of ones that hold you back in a certain place and time.

 

5. You constantly complain about them

We’re all guilty of judging or criticizing good friends at one point or another. Maybe you vent about a disagreement to your mom or are upfront with them when you think they’re making a mistake. But when a friendship is no longer working, you may notice that you’re complaining about them 24/7. Newsflash: You don’t have to be friends with people you don’t like. Move away from toxic relationships that bring out the worst in you because it doesn’t do them (or you) any favors. When you steadily feel, think, or say a flood of snide remarks, ask yourself why you’re trying to be friends with that person in general. If they make you feel more negative emotions (whether that’s annoyance, frustration, or stress) than positive emotions, you might have outgrown your friendship. 

 

6. You can’t get past a fight

Arguments and disagreements are bound to happen at some point, but what happens when you can’t seem to move past a fight with a friend? Either you find a way to resolve the problem or the relationship ends. Conflict can actually strengthen friendships if both parties are willing to do the work because you’re communicating and working through an issue together. But of course, it depends on the nature of the issue. For instance, it’s easier to fix a miscommunication about dinner plans than bridge the divide between opposing political viewpoints. If you want to work it out, try, but if you don’t feel inclined (or can’t), move on.

 

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7. You don’t feel supported

Good friends are there for you throughout the ups and downs of life. Sure, it’s fun to celebrate each other’s wins, but it’s critical to be there for the hard parts as well. Even worse is when you make an effort to support friends who flat out don’t return the favor (raise your hand if you’ve gone to a million wedding showers and then can’t get all those married friends to show up to brunch). Friends support one another, and they communicate about what they need to feel supported. That last part is vital; what’s sufficient to one person may not be enough for another. But the bottom line is that it should feel like a two-way street, where both of you make an effort to care in a way that resonates. If it’s not, you know what to do: Move on.

 

8. You’ve run out of things to talk about

Some friendships begin to dissipate very slowly, and the first marker is when you legitimately run out of things to talk about (awkward!). When small talk functions as the buoy saving your life over a dinner table, you need to decide if this is a person you want to keep around. The good news is that it may not be personal. I’ve hung out with people who I thought I’d click with, only to learn that we had zilch in common. Not in a negative way, but more of an “oh OK, so there’s no conversational chemistry here” way. If you can’t talk to each other, then you most likely won’t enjoy spending time together, and without those two things, you can’t really call it a friendship. Move on and call it good.

 

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10 Professional Skills to Master in Your 20s






Source: @goldalamode

Developing your professional skills is something that never stops, and continues to happen throughout the entirety of your career. There’s always more to learn and skills to start to master, and there’s no better time to get a start on it than in your 20s.

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The sooner you start, the sooner you’re great at something. From getting our finances under control to forming foundations for professional success, getting solid career habits under your belt is the key to long-term success. Looking to make strides in your career this year? Getting in these 10 habits early on in your career will set you up for continued growth in your work world.

 

1. Step out of your comfort zone

Get comfortable now doing the things that make you uncomfortable. While it might seem counterintuitive, the early stages of your career are the best times to take a risk. Everything is about learning, and you have so much space to make mistakes and get right back up and start over.

A comfort zone busting habit can be something small but should be routine. Think about pushing yourself to do one “stretch thing” a week and jot a reminder in your calendar to keep yourself accountable. This can be any number of things whether you ask you the new girl out to lunch or raise your ideas in a meeting you’re normally silent at.

 

2. Make the most of your Sundays

Mondays get a lot of air time as the day we need to command, but how you habitually tackle your Sunday also sets you up for a week of success. If Sundays have always still felt like 100 percent “weekend” time, start committing to carving out just an hour or two in the late afternoon to do things that tee you up for productive work week. This can be scheduling workouts or meal prepping lunches to help ensure you’ve got your wellness goals mapped out to be your best productive employee.

When you’ve mastered that, tack on another hour to invest in some professional development goals. Read industry journals that you normally haven’t, take an online class to beef up your technical skills or tackle a new podcast series. Getting in the habit of seeing at least a little of Sunday as part of your work week sets you up to ease into a great Monday.

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3. Give and take constructive feedback

Taking constructive feedback gracefully demonstrates maturity and the ability to grow professionally. You’ll also be practicing your own leadership skills if you work on how you deliver feedback to colleagues. The best employees are those that make a team’s success their responsibility and take it upon themselves to shape the output of a group with constructive feedback.

Did a colleague knock it out of the park on a presentation? Let her know if you hear the client say something impressive about her. Struggling to get along with a colleague over a deadline? Being able to articulate and resolve challenging relationships in a team environment is one of the best skills you can develop early in your career.

 

4. Negotiate like a boss

We hear a lot about negotiations attached to our salary, but in reality, it’s a skill that you’ll need to apply throughout myriad work situations. For example, when your team is given a big project, you’ll often be negotiating who is taking what work, or what reasonable timelines are. You can learn how to negotiate, and be sure you’re applying this skill to your entire compensation at a job, not just your salary!

 

5. Network with an executive mindset

Networking with an executive mindset means that you are connecting with people with the intent of a long-term relationship. Early in our careers, networking is touted as the essential way to learn the ropes and get exposed to great job opportunities. While true, you start developing a whole different level of networking sophistication when you can thoughtfully maintain a network as well as think about how you can pay it forward. Get in the habit of keeping in touch with connections by flagging articles you think they may find interesting or catching up over coffee, especially when you don’t have a particular career need in mind.

 

6. Manage your social media

There really is no better time to learn that the internet is forever. Whatever your social media footprint, be savvy about your privacy settings and know that even at their best, leaks happen. Think about the professional version of you 10 years from now. Will that girl be proud of what’s going up on Instagram today?

On the plus side, don’t underestimate the power of starting to build your professional brand now. Little bits of content, presence, and social media effort really add up over time. Consider starting a professional site with a landing page that gives prospective employers a look at your accomplishments and background. At the very least, be sure you have a LinkedIn page, as it remains relevant for professional connections in most industries.

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7. Update your resume(s)

Especially in the early stages of our career, there are always a number of different paths where our job interests could take us. Consider spending some time creating several different versions of your resume tailored to the major categories of work you might find yourself pursuing. They certainly may overlap a little, but you’ll start to see that it can be extremely valuable to emphasize different skill sets, responsibilities, and talents depending on the next role you’re looking at.

Even if you only have one go-to resume, take the time to make it up to date just in case any opportunities arise.

 

8. Keep a rolling brag sheet

Brag sheets are a little different than your official performance review or public resume. Think of them as a running list of talking points that have a greater level of detail about all the awesome things you are doing at the office. Did a colleague or mentor give you some great feedback on how your contributions really sealed the deal on a project? Do you have stats about how your content creation pulled in new eyeballs or clients? While some of these are resume relevant, often this granular level of detail is best left for conversations. Keep one going, and look at it before you have an interview or a performance review to gain talking points.

 

9. Dressing for the next job

This isn’t news, but it is critical to your early career success and it is the cornerstone of beginning to build your executive presence. In your 20s, you’re constantly making career first impressions, meaning you have both prolific opportunities to impress (and to not get it quite right).

One of the best habits you can get into in this category is remembering to always treat work events just like that: as work events. Happy Hour with the crew? Good times! But you’re still a work event, so it means that on the dress code scale you want to land somewhere between what you’d be wearing at the 9-5 and what you’d be wearing in a friends-only crew on Saturday night.

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10. Compete against yourself

One of the best habits you can sustain for career development is comparing yourself to your own potential and goals. Especially at the early parts of our career, it can be easy to look sideways at what everyone else is doing, how much money people are making, or even what cool new company they get to work for.

The earlier in our careers that we can reaffirm that we’re only competing against ourselves, the more joy we’ll be able to find along the way. Treating every opportunity as a way to grow from the person you were yesterday ends up making the journey so much more fulfilling.

 

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