Why We Lose Friends, and Why We Need to Stop Blaming Ourselves For It

Lauren Sullivan
5 min readOct 31, 2021
Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

When I was 13 I lost one of my best friendships. It wasn’t a tragic separation, but a slow and gradual parting of ways. It was clear for a while that we were becoming different people, even in our most primitive years. But in my small, immature brain, it was like the world was coming to an end. Like part of my soul was leaving me. This was a friend who held some of my deepest secrets and with whom I shared some of my best memories. The worst part was knowing that she was pulling away from me. The friendship we once shared was drifting apart, and it was time to look forward and move on.

What’s tough about losing friends is the moment when you ask yourself, “Was it me? Did I do something to push them away?”

Because the minute you start to think it’s your fault, the shame, guilt, and sadness begin to creep in.

I wish someone could tell my younger self not to worry so much about losing friends. Although a loss of any kind is difficult to deal with, rest assured that many friendships are cyclical and it’s healthy to find new people at every stage of your life.

Leaving people behind in a previous chapter of our lives is natural. We shouldn’t blame ourselves for growing up, wanting new things, and drifting down different paths.

Here are four reasons why leaving friendships is a part of life and should be treated as such.

1. We want new things as we get older — our priorities change.

The best thing about getting older is discovering that the future we once saw for ourselves isn’t what we want anymore. This can unlock a reservoir of potential and motivation to dream bigger, work harder and treat every day as if it were our last.

But what happens in this process of discovering ourselves, is our priorities re-align, our schedule changes, and we simply want different things than what we once used to. By nature, this affects the relationships we have and the people we once perceived as our “lifelong friends.”

When this shift happens, it feels uncontrollable. Our soul and dreams push in one direction, while some of our friendships refuse to follow. Rest assured that this is a…

Lauren Sullivan

A millennial living in Manhattan, eating too much sushi, and writing until 2am.