Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Angela Vaz

We’ve all watched animated movies and sitcoms where friendships seem to last forever.

And deep down, we’ve wanted that.

We’ve wanted to have best friends:

  • We can rely on in times of need
  • Who never leave no matter what
  • We can share everything with

But life doesn’t work that way.

Minor misunderstandings come up or friends just seem to fade away if we don’t put in the constant effort.

Why is that?

In this post, I want to talk about why friends come and go so that can understand that friendships aren’t really meant to last.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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9 Genuine Reasons Why Friends Come and Go

I’m not saying friendships end 100%.

There are some friendships that do last a lifetime, but you have to understand that this is very rare.

In most cases, friends come and go. And it’s really just how life works.

Let’s look at why friends come and go.

1. You both changed

You both changed and became two different people.

People change.

We all do.

At one point in time, you and your friend may have had a lot in common.

But with time, you both grew in very different ways.

Perhaps you both developed different values and goals over time.

And this is normal.

We human beings are very unique individuals.

We outgrow a lot of our characters and develop new personalities when we’re growing into adulthood.

Although there are many friends who do stick together even if they have very different values, most of the time this is not the case.

As people evolve, they prefer hanging out or talking with people who are more like them.

That’s how societies come into play. For example:

  • Parents like to hang out with other parents because they can discuss problems related to their children
  • Veterans like hanging out with other veterans because no one else will understand what they have gone through
  • People who want to go to college in a particular field will hang out with people with the same vision to feel inspired.

It’s only natural.

2. Your lifestyles are very different

I have friends who live completely different lifestyles and our communication has slowed down.

I don’t have children and it’s very difficult for me to find close friends who are moms.

Most of the people I am very close to are either single or in relationships. But not many of them have kids.

This is similar to the previous point.

People prefer making friends with others with the same lifestyle.

People who go to work often hang out with their colleagues. It’s very difficult for a mom to mingle with single people because there isn’t much in common to talk about.

If you met your friend via school, then once that equation changes and you shift schools or you move to different colleges, you’ll notice that the friendship weakens too.

Sometimes people bond over places or language and all of that can change when other different factors come into play.

3. The distance increased at some point in time

The distance increased at some point in time.

It is easier to maintain friendships with people who are closer in terms of physical distance.

I have best friends who stay in other countries.

But we don’t talk to each other every day or every week. We talk to each other once a month.

It only makes sense.

She’s pursuing her Ph.D. and I work from home via online businesses.

A lot of friends grow further apart when the distance increases.

And it’s okay.

It doesn’t mean that you both don’t care about each other.

It only means that you both have extremely different lives and there just isn’t that much time to talk and connect like before.

4. The friendship was one-sided

Some friendships are one-sided.

And although this is not something that is pointed out often, it’s a genuine reason why friends come and go.

It could be one-sided from your end or theirs.

But this requires a lot of introspecting.

A lot of people just need others in their time of need.

They become friends with people because:

  • They don’t want to be lonely
  • Their finances are low
  • They just need to pass the time

And when they find something better to replace what you’re bringing to the table, they will move on.

It’s important to remember that it is never personal.

If you feel your friend was using you in some way, then let them go.

There is no point in trying to revive the friendship. You will only end up getting hurt.

If you are trying to figure out if you should let go of a friend, read this post.

5. People aren’t great at juggling many things

As we grow older, more and more responsibilities are added to our plate.

We find ourselves engaged:

  • In new relationships
  • In a new career
  • Moving to new locations
  • Having children or pets
  • In taking care of our physical and mental health

And it is almost impossible to give everything our undivided attention without something moving to the backburner.

We only have 24 hours in a day.

And it is absolutely normal to lose track of friendships.

So, again we must not take it personally when people say that they are busy.

They most probably do have a lot going on in their lives.

And you should definitely cut them some slack.

6. They have prioritized their romantic relationships over your friendship

They prioritized their romantic relationship over their friends

Most of us go through loneliness at some stage in our lives.

It could be:

  • After joining a new school
  • After becoming a new mom
  • Confined to your home due to the pandemic
  • Moving to a new place
  • Losing a spouse or a loved one

The reasons are endless.

And when we have not healed enough, we look toward forming new relationships to drown out the loneliness.

And a lot of friendships are formed during this time.

However, when people get into romantic relationships later, they often don’t know how to set boundaries for fear of losing their partner.

They prioritize their romantic relationship over everything – their passions and hobbies, their families, and their friends.

They may not really know how to balance their romantic relationships and their friendships.

And this leads to wavering friendships.

Again, this is something you should never take personally.

People do prioritize other relationships over friendships and this is normal.

This is one of the main reasons why friends come and go.

7. They came into your life for a reason

Friends aren’t always meant to last forever.

Sometimes we are in a bad place and we really need a friend.

That’s when they come into our lives.

Maybe they were there to teach you a lesson or help you grow into a better person.

Perhaps they needed you to feel safe.

There could be a reason for your friendship to form at the moment.

And once both of you have served your purpose, you move away from each other.

It happens all the time.

So, friends may come and go but again, you should never take it personally.

It’s just the way of life.

Life is impermanent.

8. Your expectations of the friendship may be very different

Your expectations of the friendship may have changed over time.

I have a few friends who love to text.

They consider this quality time.

I don’t.

I prefer hanging out and communicating in person or talking on the phone for long hours.

We have different ideas of how friendships should work.

And this is normal.

Ask yourself if you and your friends are like this too.

Do you like hanging out while your friend is perfectly happy talking on the phone?

Or perhaps you want to get together for coffee but your friend wants to hang out at the mall and shop with you?

Sometimes our expectations can end friendships if they aren’t communicated.

So, the best thing you can do is to sit down and have a heart-to-heart chat with them.

9. You may be biased in terms of how you see the friendship

Maybe you see this person as your best friend.

But they only see you as an acquaintance or a friend at best.

Maybe you have 2-3 friends who you consider very close, but they have about 20+ people whom they hang out with infrequently.

Not everything may be as it seems.

Sometimes, you have to take a closer look at the friendship and pay attention to how you see it versus how it actually is.

It’s perfectly okay to have these expectations but know that having these expectations also leads to disappointment.

And these differences in expectations can lead to friendship breaking.

Conclusion – Why do friends come and go?

All in all, there are many reasons why friendships can cease.

If the person is good at heart and they’ve never hurt you deeply and you truly value them for who they are, keep that line of communication open.

Have an open heart and be more understanding of their needs.

It’s okay if they get busy or there is a lot of distance.

Some best friends keep in touch only once every couple of months.

Some see each other almost every day or every weekend.

Know that you will make new friends in every walk of life.

So, it’s perfectly alright for friends to come and go.

It’s okay to have a variety of friends.

That’s just how life is.

So, don’t ever feel that a friend was a waste of time. Everyone has a part to play in our lives (good or bad).

Keep those memories in your heart and move forward.

You will make new friends eventually.

And the people that are meant to stay in your life, will never leave.

You don’t know what the future holds.

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Angela is a 31 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.


  1. this is the most pointless and most fakest article ive ever seen, this article is just encouraging people to become as narcissistic and selfish as possible, instead of making such a stupid article about why people come and go, how about publishing an article on why society needs to STOP normalizing people coming & going to begin with, theres nothing good about it at all, its hurtful, traumatizing and completely immature

    • Hey Joshua,

      I can see that this article did not please you one bit – that’s okay. Not once did I mention that it’s okay for people to come and go – this is the reality, it happens. I’m giving you reasons as to why friends come and go – I’m not encouraging anyone to come and go. This article is for people who have lost friends and need re-assurance.

      However, I do stand by this: If someone is causing harm to you and constantly taking away your peace of mind, then it’s alright to walk away. This is my point of view – and you’re more than welcome to disagree with it. =)

      Warm regards,

  2. Thank you for verbalise what many of us feel but surely cannot process wisely. I’m in the middle of this questioning currently. I’ve had two « best friends » from high school, but I’ve been living abroad for 14 years now, and I feel that if I’m not making the move to maintain those relationships, nothing would happen. On the other hand, I’ve changed so much and we have nothing in commun. I sometimes feel guilty to let it go but on the other hand also very tired to not feeling understood nor having them trying and communicating their needs.. thanks for your article!

    • You’re welcome Maria. I understand – sometimes it’s hard to grapple with those feelings when you’re losing people you’ve known for so long. But it’s totally alright. You aren’t hurting anyone – this is how life is, we just need to keep moving forward. =) I had a lovely friend back in Abu Dhabi and when I moved to India, we kept in touch for over 10 years, but with time, those messages slowly decreased. I still think about her and I know I can rekindle that friendship if I want to, but I don’t feel guilty because both of us have changed so much – our lifestyles are so different. I wish you all the best.

      Warm regards,

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