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Moving On From Old Friends

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Dr J

Sometimes people just grow apart, you know?

Friendships sometimes aren't what they used to be, and things become stale. Maybe people are changing, maybe you have changed. Either way, it might not be easy.

The Question:

I have a friend who I've known for years but lately I am making excuses to not hang out with her. We just don't have much in common anymore. She has kids and I don't and all she wants to talk about when we hang out are her kids or the good old days when we were younger and single. Is it time for us to move on or am I being selfish?

That's a very valid question, and we feel like the fact that you're taking the time to ask it means you still care. Let's hear what Dr. J has to say:

Nothing is wrong with being selfish until it awards you with alienation and awkwardness - are you prepared for that possible outcome? Clearly, your friend finds a sense of comfort and refreshment from seeing your face and sharing her past AND present with you, even though parts of her life have moved her in a direction from you. Ultimately, the measure of investment is up to You. If you don't feel like there is give and take in the friendship, maybe it is time to wish her the best and move forward without her. But remember, friendships ebb and flow and right now she may need you to be there as an outlet from her day-to-day, but it might be you who needs her advice or comfort sometime in the future. If you do see the benefit of keeping her in your life, perhaps it's time to take a new look at an old friendship. Does she possess maternal qualities that you can learn from and use one day? Are there other attributes about her that You admire? Try to remember why you became friends in the first place. Looking at the big picture may bring new life into your friendship. If you still aren't inspired but want to keep your friend in the starting line-up, maybe it's time You invite her to do something that you're interested in currently (perhaps something she doesn't know you like), or just make a point to bring up YOUR experiences and unfoldings when you get together. Maybe something you do or say will strike her fancy as well or maybe she just won't get it, but it may give you something new to talk about and help your friendship evolve. Or maybe she won't hear a word you're saying. I think making the effort will help you make your decision about the future of your friendship.

I believe there is value in every relationship, whether the benefit is received by ourselves or others. Maybe you can't see the value in this friendship any longer. Nothing is wrong with moving on to new friendships if you're ready for that, but if you do make that decision, treat your old friend with respect and kindness when you let her go. Sometimes it's nice to be able to dock in a safe and friendly harbor and sometimes a new port and adventure awaits us. Whatever you decide, Bon Voyage on your journey!

What great advice!

Good luck with your decision, reader!

If you've got a question about how to handle something bothering you in life, shoot us an email or ask the doctor himself @AskDocJ on Twitter!

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