You did it! You finally have the job you were dreaming of and all the perks that come with it. However, instead of being happy for you, your friends are never around.
• Synchronizing your schedules seems an impossible mission.
• You talk less. You rarely meet, and, when you do, it feels like a glass wall is separating you.
• Your success seems to be driving you apart.
Why is it happening and what can you do about it?
Each situation is different, so there are no universal answers. However, if you stop for a minute, take a step back, and analyze the big picture, it should be easy to figure out the answer. My guess is the reason is in the following list.
3 Reasons Why Success Drives Friends Apart
1. Your new job takes a lot of your time, and you are no longer available for hanging out and helping your friends when they need you
You have new responsibilities, which aren’t always easy to keep up with. It’s natural to work overtime now and then. However, if you do it too often or you’ve made it a habit to stop for a drink or a cup of coffee with your new colleagues, chances are you have very little time for your friends.
Now would be a good time to look back and see how many girls or guys’ nights out you’ve missed and how many phone calls or text messages never received an answer. If you’re never available to them, your friends will eventually give up on you.
Your options are simple:
a. You find time for your friends, and you remain close.
b. You close that chapter of your life and move on to finding new friends.
I’d leave room for a third option: accepting the change and getting together when you can. It will work if your friends are successful as well and they understand what you’re going through. After all, combining jobs or business endeavors with parenting and other family obligations is not easy. Those who have tried can relate.
My husband and I were lucky enough to change house, jobs, and have kids at the same time as our friends. From getting together for coffee or dinner almost every day and spending the weekends together, we moved on to meet once a month.
It’s not that we don’t want to spend time together, it’s just that the days aren’t long enough for us. We keep in touch when we can, we get together at holidays and anniversaries, and we talk on the phone.
We value our friendship, and we wish things were different.
We hope to be able to change them for the better sometime soon. Until then, we treasure every minute we get to spend together.
2. Your friends are jealous, and they think you’re looking down on them
Your new job and social status haven’t changed who you are. However, everyone expects you to change. Your friends feel they can’t keep up with you when it comes to expenses, nights out, and shopping, so they decide to avoid you. You feel left out, and you don’t understand their behavior. What can you do?
• Call them out.
• Tell them you are the same person and your new income and work status haven’t changed who you are.
• Give your friends the time and the opportunity to see that for themselves.
They will eventually learn to ignore your new status and treat you the same way they did before.
When I was in high school, I used to work as a waitress to support myself. My friends and school colleagues were salesmen, security agents, people working for a living. We kept in touch over the years, met on weekends and during the holidays, and I didn’t make too much fuss about my jobs.
When they finally saw the office, I was working in and the people I dealt with on a daily basis, they felt overwhelmed. It took time and patience to convince them I was the same person and my new status hadn’t changed that. It may take time and patience from you too. Some of them will never accept it. I had one who couldn’t come to terms with my success and acted as if it was all damn luck and the people who had hired me were idiots.
We’re not friends anymore.
Perhaps your friends are intimidated by your new status. Give them time to get used to it. Show them you are the same person they used to know, and they will eventually come around. Some of them may not, and they may have a hard time hiding their contempt, their inability to accept that you succeeded where they failed. But that is not on you, and you don’t want that type of friends next to you.
3. You’re not on the same page anymore, and there’s nothing you can do about it
People change. They adapt to new environments, they change their lifestyles, and they change their priorities. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it. Other times, you realize the change is for the best, and you embrace it. It helps to acknowledge the change and deal with it, rather than to stress yourself trying to figure out what is wrong.
For a couple of years before having our daughter, my husband and I had an amazing couple as friends. We did everything together, helped each other out. We thought we were closer than family. When we had our daughter, forced to raise her ourselves and wanting to protect her health and well-being, we created a bed-time routine.
She wouldn’t go to sleep without a bath and her milk bottle. It meant leaving parties earlier, and our friends couldn’t accept that. They expected us to put our daughter to sleep wherever we found a bed or a couch, and party until morning. When we put our daughter’s needs first, they stopped inviting us and coming over.
We were sorry to lose them, but we did what we thought was best for our baby girl, and we don’t regret it. It paid out, as we are the only parents we know that managed to sleep through the night and get away without needing a babysitter.
The Bottom Line about Success Driving Friends Apart
I read an article on CNBC a couple of months back, naming three reasons that drive friends apart. I don’t agree with the one about not being able to share sensitive information. Sure, some of the aspects related to your work are a secret.
However, you can surely find a lot of things to share without compromising information confidentiality. You can share things without giving specific details, and close friends will understand the need to keep some details confidential. After all, you’re not working for the CIA or compromising multimillion-dollar contracts, are you? You can surely go around the private stuff and talk about the basics or your take on the job.
In the end, just like jobs and marriages, friendships are hard to keep.
They take time, involvement, and a dash of compatibility. Sometimes, you can provide that. Other times, you realize it is impossible and move on.
If you are worried about losing your friends, offer them a little more of your time, show them you are the same person they used to know and don’t look down on them for not being able to match your success. The rest will follow naturally.
Those who are your real friends and care about you will stay. Those who do not take you seriously and did not take the time to get to know you will sooner or later disappear. Either way, it helps to know who you’re dealing with and who is dependable in all situations.
If you agree, share this piece with your friends. If you think there’s something I’ve been missing out on, don’t hesitate to point it out in a comment! No one is perfect, but I, for one, would like a chance to improve, so I’m grateful for any feedback.
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