‘Change’ is a word that many people don’t like to hear. At times, I find myself running from it. But I’ve come to realize that to elevate to the next level, whether it’s a new job, new relationship, new environment or lifestyle, some things just can’t remain the same. Unfortunately, this may include your friendships. Change can bring about the most painful endings in friendships or relationships, where the connection between us and our familiar tribe is temporarily or permanently broken. This often happens because our new way of life doesn’t fit the expectations of others.
‘You’ve changed; Why are you acting so brand new?’
To some, changes to your lifestyle means you’re not the same person anymore. Some may even take offense to your new life as some form of betrayal. Sadly, you may even see some of your most trusted friends become distant, and even catty when you no longer want to engage in the same things. For instance, a friend enjoys gossiping about everyone around town and you no longer want to participate in such negativity. Or, you rather stay home and study for your exams instead of partying every night. You’re now heavily focusing on your career, saving for a new home, or establishing a future retirement plan, while your friends enjoys splurging on the latest fads. The tug of war between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ you can be tough, especially when your friends can’t accept it.
So, what should you do?
Because you’re transitioning to a new life, you’ll begin to see how your friendships are helping or hurting your progress. To be clear, I’m not saying that ALL of your friends will reject your new life goals, but it is important to find out who is truly supportive and who’s not.
Here are some ways to help determine which friends will truly support you:
- Explain to your friends about your new goals, and listen to their feedback. Your friends’ feedback will show how they feel about the changes you want to make to your life.
- Invite your friends to join you when engaging in new hobbies or interests. Not all of your friends will want to try that new Zumba class. But your true friends will at least support or encourage you during this new phase in your life.
- Talk about your boundaries and what no longer fits in your new lifestyle. All the silly things you’ve done with your friends in the past may not fit well in your future. Your real friends will respect your needs, even if they’re not at your life’s pace.
- Get clarity on what your friends expect from your friendship. Some of your friends may want you to act a certain way, talk a certain talk, or wear a certain style. Yet, the new you is screaming for something else! Get a clear understanding of the expectations within your friendships, and whether or not it’s worth adhering to certain ‘friend rules.’
If you receive genuine love and support from your friends during the ‘change,’ keep them close, as they are there for your greater good. However, if you have friends that continue to negatively impact your life’s progress, it’s time to expand your social network. Opening yourself up to meeting new people releases the limitations that others may have for your life. The ‘old you’ is comfortable for them, yet the ‘new you’ has upset the status quo.
In the end, there is no need to feel guilty about changing your life. Change is necessary when you know for sure that you are unhappy with the way things are. Surely, our friends should be supportive when we’re shifting from one phase to another. Choose your friends wisely while you’re working towards a better YOU!