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Musings for the Modern Mystic

Musings for the Modern Mystic

Time For a New Social Circle? If Your Friends Aren't Willing To See You Change, It May Be |

Time For a New Social Circle? If Your Friends Aren’t Willing to See You Change, It May Be.


Last Updated on April 9, 2024

The more I find myself, the more people I lose. ~ Unknown Click To Tweet

All of us grow and change; it’s a part of maturing and discovering who we are as people. As we age, it becomes impossible to avoid. Things happen. We may discover a new passion or a new career and decide to pursue it. Our feelings on everything from politics to personal relationships may rotate 180 degrees, as others’ might as well. It’s just part of being human.

Yet everyone fears change. (This is a natural reaction, of course, and has its advantages — i.e. logical caution — but strong fear, apart from physically dangerous or truly life-threatening situations is never good for your psyche.) As with most everything, the answer lies in learning to recognize the resistance you’re holding, and upon doing so, slowly surrendering it. It’s all a matter of how you decide to view it, and once you begin this work it can be a wonderful transition.

But there’s a problem here: much of your outlook has already been decided for you, and is probably held by your friends as well. Thus, the decision to embrace change can often get people’s backs up. So the question is: do your friends support you while you are shifting some of your perspectives, building up courage, chasing your dreams? Unless you are making an insane, dangerous life choice, your friends shouldn’t be judging or discouraging you (and if they’re true friends they won’t be gossiping behind your back, either).

There are a number of times in life when we may have to move on to sunnier social climes. Here are 4 such examples.

1) Your Feelings Have Changed

Are you dreading the weekend get-together? Do you come up with excuses not to hang out, or does being with them leave you feeling worn out or stressed? 

If your emotional health is harmed after each outing, this is a sure sign. It’s unhealthy and unwise to continue with this group. Your friends should be a happy retreat from your everyday grind. A positive social circle will always hold enough openness for yourself and others to self-express in honest ways, to shift, change, and surprise one another, and while there may be playful competition involved, it can never touch the foundational core of co-operation and friendship that values the relationship above any form of ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ (which is indeed what allows any competition to be of the truly playful variety). It will always invoke feelings of camaraderie, security and fun.

2) There’s No Growth

Does your group get together to do the same thing every time? Just bar-hopping or shopping? Does everyone rehash the same old memories you all shared as kids or from college? Are you finding yourself playing “therapist” and listening to everyone else’s problems, but having your own disregarded?

Friendship is a two way-street, and it should always contain an element of spontaneity along with its familiarity. Your friends should be interested in your life, your thoughts, and your opinions, and outings should be both refreshing and invigorating, not rote. If your conversations aren’t deeper than one you’d have with a random stranger, or if your get-togethers have become mechanical, then it’s time to move on.

3) The One-Up Game

Do you find yourself being “one-upped” by your friends whenever you’ve announced some news? You’ve just declared something exciting in your life but your friends jump in and make a “bigger” announcement. Or they become condescending and minimize your accomplishment through some form of ‘humor’ or other (unfortunately) socially acceptable derogatory commenting.

You should never, ever feel guilty or embarrassed when telling your friends about your achievements. Not only will real friends be proud of you, they’ll expect nothing less from you, always encouraging you to keep pushing yourself.

Patronizing, judgemental, passive-aggressive people are actually in a lot of pain, due to an underlying sense of lack and low self-esteem (however aware of it or not they may be) thus leaving them stuck with an unconscious program of hierarchal thinking, believing there’s something to ‘gain’ or ‘lose’ in every situation and therefore desperate to have the ‘upper hand’ over their friends.

4) The Bucket of Crabs Analogy

The “bucket of crabs” visual is where each crab could easily escape the bucket but instead grab at each other and pull each other down to where they’re all trapped together. This is a perfect analogy for so many social circles out there. 

Members of a group will often attempt to diminish the importance of anyone in that group that begins to step beyond the spoken or unspoken boundaries that exist within it. 

Again, the culprit is almost always some mixture of jealousy and low self-esteem, and these lower, sabotaging emotions will try to eliminate their feelings of inferiority by halting the other’s progress, in one manner or another. While envy is a natural emotion, and when honestly felt and expressed can lead to healthy growth, it can, when continually repressed, morph into jealousy. Jealousy is never good in any relationship, but when it gets out of control in a group situation, this is a major red flag to run for the hills (or cities, or anywhere you will find more secure people).

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Humans often choose familiarity over so many other things, including our own happiness. But you need positive friends in order to stay positive to grow and thrive in your life. You don’t have to disconnect from everyone in that group; you could select one or two you really trust and take them out privately and explain the situation and that you’d like to continue the friendship with them outside that social circle.

If you’re feeling any of the things in this article, it may be time to start looking at other options. Pursuing a new group of friends can be as exciting as pursuing a new passion, goal or relationship. It’s elating and scary and all of that other stuff, but I guarantee you, it’s for the best, and you won’t believe how clean and fresh the air is after leaving all that stagnant negativity behind.


  • Tracy Stine

    Tracy Stine is a Deaf & legally Blind mother of two teenagers living in Oklahoma. She's a freelance writer, ASL Tutor & Kindle author.

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