Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters: when friends drift

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In our mental health and wellbeing spot, a few words about friendships that drift away a little, and why the reasons may not always be apparent.

Hello, and a very warm welcome to the bit on our site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, feelings, how we’re doing, and that sort of thing. This is a regular weekly feature for us, and we’re well aware that not everything we write will be of use to everyone. But hopefully, over the course of this series, there’s something in there that’s useful to you.

This week, just a few words on the changing nature of friendship in life. And a few thoughts on friends who seem to fade away from us.

There’s a cliché, and I do wonder if there’s something to it, that we make fewer friends as we get older. We tend to have a bit more time and a bit less pressure on us when we’re younger, and more space to meet people, build friendships, and generally find people to switch off with. It doesn’t work like that for everyone, but it does for most.

And then we get older. As we get older, life has a habit of getting in the way. That friend who you saw every week a few years ago is now someone you might see once or twice a year. Or talk on the phone to every now and then. And as space develops, it’s easy to let our heads fill in the gaps.

But just a moment of caution there. A week or two back, I was talking to someone who said that an old friend didn’t bother to get in touch anymore. When I asked if she got in touch with the, she said she didn’t. She figured if they wanted to hear from her, she’d have made the effort. The two of them are thus, to my outsider eyes, at an impasse, and a friendship has disappeared. Neither was willing to break the silence.

It’s a recurring theme in these articles that we never fully know someone else’s story. We don’t always know what’s going on in someone’s life, and we don’t know what demons they’re battling. Or they may just be incredibly busy. Or pulled from metaphorical pillar to post. Or, yep, they might not want to be friends.

But the balance of probability, I’d suggest, is not on that. Instead, lives clog up as we get older. Things get more difficult. Spare time is at more of a premium. And I do think that may be at the heart of a lot of friendship drift.

So just a quick thought. If you’ve got a friendship that’s drifted like that, try sending a hello. Just a simple message. You might not get a reply. Or you might just be someone the other person in the conversation really wants to hear from. You never know.

Friendships do take a little work though. And just because someone appears to be ghosting you, ignoring you, or drifting away from you, don’t instantly assume it’s because of you. Do just send that message. If it’s not to be, it’s not to be. But hopefully, a friendship can be extended if you do.

Thank you, as always, for reading. This little bit of the site will return next week. You all take care.

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