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At what point do you "outgrow" a friend or end a friendship?


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I have a friend online I've known since I was in 6th grade... so about 12 years now. We met up twice in person. As the years have gone on, I feel like we've just been growing farther and farther apart. I joined the military, she went to college. I started deployments and dating, she started college exams and cosplay. I got married, she got mad at me and we didn't talk for a few weeks... Now we hardly ever talk. I just don't feel we have anything in common aside from our past together. 

How do you end a friendship that's gone on this long? Do you just stop talking? Do you give them a heads up, like, "Hey, I don't feel like we're really friends anymore so I'm gonna stop talking to you." or... what? I've been stressing about this. 

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Hmm. I think usually my really close and intense online friendships go for 2-3 years and kind of end.... by default? Not sure how to explain.


However. I do have a really close online friend that I've been friends with for 10+ years and we've always been really different with different paths and life goals and such. We don't talk often anymore (sometimes only 1-2x a year), but we can always just pick up like nothing happened with a 13hr Skype call. I get the feeling this isn't where you are anymore with your IBFFL.


I think the fact that this is something you've been giving a lot of thought to and are still having difficulty deciding, is an indicator that you still want a connection with this person. Is this the case? Do you genuinely want things to end or do you just wish the friendship was in a better place?


For different reasons, I've done both the hard ending and the slow fade. Usually the hard ending is more jarring because it's a split due to differences and just no mutual good feelings in the way things ended. In the slow fade, at least you can look through the entire friendship (from beginning to end) with fondness and just leave it to that fact that you both "grew apart" at the end rather than hard differences. Hopefully this make sense...

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Hmm... I feel like they naturally end. I know it's hard when a friendship ends and it actually feels kind of like a break up and you go through some sort of grieving stage. It just happens I guess, that's life. I still talk to people I've been close to every other month or so because it sucks to miss someone. 


My friends settled down super young which left me with nothing to talk about with them. They wanna talk about their kids, husbands, how hard it is for them and I'm like... "Oh,I'm going on holiday soon, I bought a new car, work is going good" it's just so awkward, you know?  It's not a bad thing to have completely different lives but it doesn't leave much to talk about or relate to. It's nice to pop round for a coffee and reminisce but people change, circumstances change and that's all totally okay. We just have to move onto the next phase of our lives, make new friends who will probably come and go too. 


I feel like giving them a heads up isn't the way to go. You can still be friends with someone even though you don't talk every day, week or month. Just distance yourself and catch up now and again. 

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