Even in a world where communication is instantaneous, it can be hard to keep up with friends, much less make new ones. In fact, our social circle begins to shrink around age 25. Women, in particular, begin to interact with fewer and fewer people, followed closely by men as they enter their late 20s and 30s.
This could be for any number of reasons. From major life events such as marriage and loss to a busy work schedule or a new friend group, it’s simply a part of life for good pals to sometimes drift apart.
In some cases, however, friendships end because they’ve grown one-sided. Maybe the other person has stopped showing a genuine interest in your life. Perhaps they never felt as deep of a connection in the first place, or maybe they no longer prioritize the relationship.
Whatever the reason may be, it can be difficult to come to terms with losing a friend.
As many of us also struggle with confrontation, it may be even harder to identify the subtle signs that a friendship has run its course—and what to do when this happens. To help you find the emotional support you need to move on, we’ve outlined some red flags to look out for below and what they may mean.
8 Signs Someone No Longer Wants to be Friends
It’s well-researched that healthy relationships are important to our well-being. For a relationship to be healthy, mutual respect and communication are necessary.
Friendship is no exception.
Though it’s perfectly normal for life to get in the way, a true friend will try to be there for you as often as they’re able (and vice versa).
If this doesn’t seem to be true anymore—or you’re not sure where you stand with someone—it may be that they don’t want to be friends. If you suspect this is the case, here’s what to look out for:
1. They’re not interested in the events or details in your life.
Whether it’s a new job or drama with an ex, a healthy friendship is all about sharing.
Although staying up to date with a friend’s life isn’t always possible, what matters is that you both try to be involved, even at a distance. If you feel that you’re present in their life but they’re not in yours, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship.
In this case, it doesn’t hurt to check in and see what’s going on, especially if you’re in a long-distance friendship. They may have had no time to catch up and want to do better. However, if this issue is chronic or they’re unwilling to try harder, the friendship may have grown one-sided.
2. They’ve stopped inviting you out.
Another good sign that a friendship has possibly reached its end is if you’re experiencing a serious case of FOMO.
Thanks to social media, we’ve all dealt with the fear of missing out on something fun or exciting, be it a new trend or the latest Netflix obsession. When it comes to our best friends, however, FOMO can be especially troubling.
While there is nothing wrong with a friend spending time with other people—in fact, it’s healthy for friends to have friends outside of you—a genuine lack of quality time can indicate something much deeper than FOMO.
If you find that your friend doesn’t make time for you anymore, and yet has plenty for other people, it’s possible they no longer value your friendship as much as they did in the past.
3. They keep making excuses and canceling plans.
It’s not uncommon for old friends to rarely see each other. One may have moved out of state and gotten married, while the other can’t see loved ones often due to work or other priorities.
Whatever the case may be, canceled plans don’t necessarily mean someone no longer cares for you.
That said, frequent cancellations, vague explanations, and last-minute apologies can damage even the strongest of relationships. If your friend has become flaky and their reasons have started to sound like excuses, it might be time to reinvest your energy into people who can be more present in your life.
4. They don’t engage with you on social media or have unfollowed you.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook—social media is not the be-all-end-all to any relationship, but they can indicate a change. Though true friendship isn’t necessarily affected by how much you engage with each other online, a sudden lack of interaction can be their way of pulling away.
As a way of avoiding confrontation, your friend may ignore your replies, mute your posts, or respond with a “like” whereas they’d usually comment.
Another sign that someone no longer wants to be your friend is if they’ve unfollowed or blocked you. This is a subtle but clear sign that the friendship is over in their eyes.
5. You’re always the one reaching out to them.
There is nothing wrong with taking the initiative and being the “planner” in a relationship. That said, it should never be solely up to you to keep a friendship going.
After all, friendship is a two-way street.
If you and a good friend have communication issues, the best way to resolve them is by discussing them. However, if your friend is unwilling or unable to make changes, then it may mean they’re not the best match for you.
6. They don’t respond to your texts or messages.
As with social media, not everyone is great at texting. If your friend happens to be a slow texter or introverted, late replies may simply be a bad habit. A complete lack of response, however, or a reply weeks, possibly months later without explanation is a sign that the friendship is one-sided.
Messages left on “read” are also signs of ghosting. If your friend is ghosting you and makes no effort to contact you in general, it’s reasonable to assume that they’re not interested in being friends anymore.
7. Their answers are short and sound unlike themselves.
To avoid confrontation, we sometimes choose to distance ourselves from an uncomfortable situation by being overly curt or formal.
In the case of a friendship that’s run its course, you may notice a change in your friend’s behavior and language.
When they text you, their once colorful responses are now short or sparse. If you ever spend time together, their body language may also seem reserved and your meet-ups feel a little like a business meeting.
This may be their way of creating an emotional distance. If you feel that there is tension between you and a friend, talking about it can clear the air about the state of your relationship.
8. They talk mostly about themselves.
Though we must do our best to support our loved ones in whatever way we can, no healthy relationship is about the needs of one person.
If your friend tends to dominate conversations or focus mostly on themselves, this may be a sign of an unequal friendship. Another indicator of an unequal friendship is a lack of boundaries. If your friend’s needs sometimes take priority over yours, the relationship may become exhausting or overwhelming, possibly even affecting your mental health.
This may be also a symptom of a toxic friendship, another sign to let go of the relationship.
You’re Not Alone with Emote Online Therapy
Oftentimes when we meet someone we connect with, we want to hold on to that relationship for as long as we can. We might put time and effort into someone who doesn’t feel the same way or who takes advantage of us. And by the end, we may be left feeling hurt and need to walk away from the friendship.
Breaking up with a close friend is never easy. It’s a form of loss, one deserving of compassion and emotional support.
At Emote, we offer a safe space for you to explore these difficult emotions and get the closure you need. By working with one of our highly qualified online therapists, you’re free to discuss unresolved feelings, gain critical insight, and discover strategies to build healthy, long-lasting friendships.