Thursday, May 14, 2015
Outgrowing People Around You is OK
I picked up this picture on Facebook the other day and just really connected with its message. I had recently moved on from some people in my community. It felt good to move on and this message really solidified what I had felt. Outgrowing people around you is not only OK, but it's normal and healthy. You can't stay friends with everybody,for if you do, you don't grow, you end up stagnating.
For years, I had tried to remain "Switzerland" and be FRIENDS with everyone. You know the basic history of Switzerland, remain peaceful and neutral. As history has shown us, sometimes it just isn't possible. You still get "overrun" and sometimes invaded. Or like Switzerland in WWII, you maintain armed neutrality and yet still are forced to make economic concessions to Germany. OK, that's enough history lesson for now. :-)
I tried to remain neutral. I wanted battling friends to figure things out for themselves but it didn't work out that way. I ended up hurting people I didn't mean to and for that, I am sorry. But I realized something along with way: nothing says in life you have to remain friends with everyone. You can move on, be fluid. Some people you get closer to, others become acquaintances. And there is nothing wrong with that!
Now I have a lot of contacts on my social media accounts. I have so many contacts it sometimes takes me awhile to remember how I know some of them. Friends of friends of friends. LOL. This is not a bad thing for me because I use my accounts to network for my blog. I know I am not friends with all of these people. I am acquaintances and or contacts with most of them. Friends with many of them. Good friends with a some of them. Dear friends with a good good handful and then best friends with just a few.
Unfortunately, I also have been burnt by having too many contacts online. Some of the people I thought were good friends turned out to be less than that. You outgrow them and move on. It's not such a bad thing. The friendship has run its course. Others, you realize, can only be privy to certain aspects of your life and you segue them off social media. It is not meant as a slight and you still may get along so well with them in social situations, BUT be forewarned, it still can be an awkward situation for a while. Often times, you will reconnect with those people and "friend" them again anyway.
I sometimes get friend-requested by people in my immediate community. I tend now not to accept these friendships as I've realized that my close knit community can be sometimes a little too close for comfort. It's nothing personal but as you can imagine, people do often take it that way.
Now this idea of "outgrowing friends" not only happens on social media but also ... shockingly ... in real life! You have friends that you grew up with, friends in college, and friends in your twenties that you thought you'd be friends with your entire life! But time marches on and you find you have less in common with them that you used to. It's a tough thing to realize and come to grips with.
Often feelings are hurt, even if you don't mean for them to be. It takes maturity and wisdom to recognize that it's time to move on. And more often than not, no one really is in the wrong. It just is the right thing to do. I'd say it gets easier as you get older, but it really doesn't. Awkward social situations are by their very nature, awkward.
Lastly, I want to just say that social media is truly a great thing in connecting the world and reconnecting with dear old friends but too many people get hung up on the word "friend" and the concept of an online "friendship." I wish that term would just go away. It is sooo misleading. Acquaintance is kind of cold. I like the word contact. Perhaps ally, or just associate. Maybe the Australians have it good by just calling each other "mate." I personally like chum as long as we are not talking fish chum. If so, then I guess you really weren't my friend anyway. :-)