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Rebecca and Enid in Ghost World, who begin the movie as inseparable best friends but end it distant, having drifted apart

How to know when you’ve outgrown your old friends

Some friendships are for life and some just aren’t – here are the telltale signs that the spark isn’t there any more and you both need to move on

My best friend once shit herself in Kings Cross Station. It was a classic tale of girl meets churro, churro seems harmless, churro causes unspeakable chaos in girl’s digestive systems. We all know how it goes. Now, it’s probably not the kind of thing she wants to be reminded of. Who would want that? But whenever I’m sad she tells me the story. Every beautiful and excruciating detail. Sometimes twice. She doesn’t do it because she’s proud of it (although she should be, it’s hilarious) but because she knows it makes me happy. It makes me laugh. It gives me the strength to carry on. She does it because she’s my friend and friendship is magic. Or at least it should be.

But sometimes friendships aren’t really all that friendly. Sometimes friendships are like that churro my friend ate… toxic, wrong, just not destined to last. Maybe it used to work, back when you were kids and all it took was was eating the same type of glue to be best pals. But you’re not kids anymore. You can’t just eat glue and hope it holds things together. That’s not how glue works. Well I mean it is – that’s literally how glue works, but I don’t mean that. I’m trying to create an image here, see. A metaphor. A visual journey. I’ve fucked it up, but this is what I’m talking about: here are some signs that a friendship is over.


Maybe you drink more. Smoke more. Act like a dickhead more. You catch yourself agreeing to do shit that you don’t really want to do. You go out and act obnoxious, judgmental. You’re rude to people who are just living their lives. You take part in a rigorously planned jewel heist. You don’t tip. Whatever. Stuff that you regret in the morning. The truth is that, as an adult, you really don’t need to be friends with people who encourage your bad qualities. It’s hard enough to be a human person without all of that hoopla. It sounds corny, but spending time with people who have high standards for themselves and expect good things from you makes life way more fulfilling. You have less jewels, yes, but I promise you it’s worth it.


If you were dating someone and everything they said made you want to drive a corkscrew into your brain you probably wouldn’t date them any more, right? So what are you doing being friends with people who irritate the shit out of you? For everybody’s sake, can we agree to try spending our time with people who we like and get along with. OK? And also let’s recycle more. It’s important, you guys. This planet is dying.


At first you tell yourself you’re being ridiculous. They’re not a bad person. No way. They’re your friend. They’re cool. OK, sure, they steal, but that’s just a fun quirk. And, yesssss, admittedly, they start SMALL forest fires. They’re so small, though! Fun-sized, really. And, alright, PERHAPS, just PERHAPS, they’ve ‘KILLED’ people. Nobody’s perfect, though, and didn’t Jesus tell us not to judge? Honestly: you can make excuses for shitty people all day long, but eventually you just have to face facts. They’re bad, they don’t make you happy and you should move on. And I know that it’s hard. Distancing yourself from an old friend is like quitting smoking or replacing all photos of your grandma with Jeff Goldblum – stressful and uncomfortable at first, but so much healthier long term.


Be honest, it’s more of an obligation thing at this point. Like going to the dentist or paying taxes. You don’t HAVE to do it, there’s no ‘rules’ to say you’ve got to. But you just sort of feel like… you should? Well, listen up, ’cos this is important: you don’t owe people your time and they don’t owe you theirs. Life is short. There are so many TV shows to watch. So many dog videos. Stop wasting perfectly good dog-Googling time with people you don’t really like. I mean don’t be a dick about it, keep sending them a Christmas card if you must, but don’t organise kayaking trips together any more. Enough with the kayaking trips. They’re fucking tedious.

“You don’t owe people your time and they don’t owe you theirs. Life is short. There are so many TV shows to watch. So many dog videos. Stop wasting perfectly good dog-Googling time with people you don’t really like”


“Oh no, it’s just because they don’t have much in common. I’m not embarrassed. Jamie from work is a huge Coldplay fan and Monica kicks pensioners in the shin on public transport. They’re just SO different! I’M NOT EMBARRASSED, THOUGH!!” Come on. Come onnnnn. Be honest. You are embarrassed. As you should be. Because you have no business being friends with someone that awful. Also, Monica doesn’t sound great either! Ha ha. (No, I’m just joking, Chris Martins and the other Cold Players. Huge fan really. I loved your song about Yellow.)


Your friendships should be the most significant relationships in your life, is what I think. They should uplift you, sustain you, edify you. This idea that friendships are footnotes, extras, secondary to romantic relationships is crazy bullshit. Think about it like this: these are the people you’re spending most of your life with. They’re going to be there through the best and worst times, they’re going to see you fail and they’re going to see you win. They’re going to watch on in horror as you drunkenly throw up in your own lap at McDonalds and then keep eating your Chicken Legend meal like nothing’s happened. At the very least, you should feel pumped at the thought of hanging out with these clowns.