Drifting Apart


All of us have experienced this at least once in our lives: there is a friend whom we’ve known from kindergarden, with whom we share our secrets and confide our deepest insecurities to. Someone who is so close that it feels like family when the person is around. In his article about human addiction in the U.S. Version of the Huffington Post, Johann Hari quotes Peter Cohen, Professor in the Health Science departement at Wichita State University in Kansas. He claims that “human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections“.


But at some point in your life, when University or work catapults you to another city or country, both of you develop different preferences and decide to embark on different paths. In this “age of loneliness“, as Hari quotes George Monbiot, “we have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before.” Hari explains that this is made easier through the existence of the internet.

Especially when young, personality changes all the time. Opinions are formed based on experiences with people. Hence, as one grows older and discovers new places, a surrounding which shapes your character is built. Maybe, in order to adapt to a new place and new environments, it is necessary to be all by yourself without being distracted by old patterns and thoughts. Part of the reason for that is self-discovery, says Hazel Cills, an American writer for Rookie Magazine. When coming back to your old circle of friends, there are two possible scenarios that can take place:

1. It feels like you can continue your friendship where it ended.
2. You cannot. Because sometimes, Cills says, changing is regarded as not being true to yourself.

If the second is the case, do not panic! “People change. Feelings change. It does not mean that the love once shared wasn’t true and real. It simply just means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart.” (“(500) Days of Summer“).

The other Side of the Coin

However, you can look at this matter from a different angle. Wolfgang Schmidbauer, German writer from Zeit Magazin, claims that outgrowing each other in a relationship is necessary and great. For him, the pressure of having to do everything together is an obstruction. In fact, he claims that couples only fight when they do NOT outgrow each other. Being too close to someone, he says, forces you to constantly adapt yourself to the other person and sacrifice parts of your own personality in favor of the relationship – just like trees standing too close, leaving them no space to grow. According to Schmidbauer, “We have outgrown each other” is a typical phrase couples say when they break up. Schmidbauer attributes this phenomenon to the way media is picturing celebrity love-lives. Therefore, to him, using this phrase is nothing more than a diplomatic excuse for not wanting to reflect the true problems of a relationship and to protect ourselves from what may be the result of the confrontation. As if we have lost our love somewhere along the way.

The fictional movie “(500) Days of Summer” illustrates exactly this subject in a great manner, which is why we recommend it at this point.

“those small but significant moments between two people and taking a risk at love when uncertainty remains. Moments that can make someone wonder if the other person was feeling the same thing or if it was only an illusion. This is a different kind of love story but not told in a conventional way about how our romantic preconceptions can cloud relationships and trying to understand the truth and nature of love.”

Did you ever have a similar experience with a special person? If so, how did you deal with that situation?


Header image credits royalty free

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About Ece Isil Sahin

Ece has fallen for the arts since she was 5 years old. Growing up between backstage areas and theatre cafés, she is now majoring in Theatre-, Film- and Mediastudies at the Universitiy of Vienna.

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