By 25, you’ve probably become well acquainted with all of the feelings that come right before a breakup. But when you start having those same distant feelings toward a long-time friend, it can be hard to figure out whether or not that relationship is worth saving. Friendship expert, Nicole Zangara, offers five tell-tale signs of friendships that you should end in your mid-20s, and a few ways to let them down easy.


1) You’re putting in all of the effort


If your friendship has more ups and downs than the stock market, it might be time to call it quits — especially if your effort is solely to thank for the upswings. If you find yourself texting, emailing, and calling your friend to set something up, but aren’t getting any of that effort back, it could be time to step away.


Ask yourself: Do you feel that this friendship is worth your time? Does your friend care about you the same way that you care about them?


If the answer is no, tell your friend that you feel this relationship has become one-sided, and ask that you take a break to re-evaluate the friendship. You may find that there’s little to no space for this friend in your life after that stepping away period, and that it’s less exhausting to not always be the one reaching out to try and make something work that isn’t.


2) You have nothing left in common


Your mid-20s come with a lot of life changes — you may move to a new state or city, get married, pursue new interests. Basically, you’re not the same person that your best bud met in high school math class. If there is little to no common ground that you and your friend share, you may want to re-evaluate the friendship.


Ask yourself: Do you find you feel the same as you used to when you hang out or talk to your friend? Do you find that it’s getting more difficult to find things to talk about? Are there major awkward silences?


Friendships ebb and flow, but if you’re experiencing consistent difficulty when it comes to common interests, it’s appropriate to acknowledge where you both are at, and that you either have to try harder to find a hobby or topic that you both enjoy, or decide that each of you have changed too much to continue the relationship. This situation is very common, but not always acknowledged.


3) You don’t agree with your friend’s lifestyle choices


Taking on more responsibility inevitably comes with getting older, from paying off student loans, car insurance, a rent or mortgage, and the list goes on and on. If your friend isn’t accepting these tasks, and is still mooching off of you when you go out to dinner because she spends more money than she has on material things, or on nights out drinking till 4am, you may wonder what this friend is still doing in your adult life.


Ask yourself: Do you feel that your friend is too much to handle? Is he or she not taking on any responsibility? Instead of being a friend, is your role more of a sugar daddy or disciplinarian?


If this friend is just not ready to grow up, that’s fine. Respect his or her choices, acknowledge that you’re not in the same place, and let your friend know that you’re looking for a different kind of friendship. As we get older, we’re looking for friends who we can depend on — not ones who are flaky and can’t seem to commit to coffee plans because they’re always too hung-over.


4) You move or relocate


You take a new job in a new city, or move to be closer to your fiance’s family, but you promise to stay in touch with the friend that you’re leaving behind. Unfortunately, many friendships don’t last through this transition.


Ask yourself: Do you want to keep the friendship going? What’s realistic? Do you have the same expectations?


It’s important to discuss this change with your friend — how the two of you plan to handle it, and how invested you both are in the friendship (truthfully). Maybe you both agree to try and talk once or twice a month, or Facetime once a week. Talk about these things, and be upfront. If you feel it’ll be too much to maintain, express your honest feelings about the reality of the friendship.


5) You are over the drama


We’re not dramatic teenagers anymore. When you’re entering more serious roles in your 20s, at work, in your relationships, etc., it can be hard to stay friends with someone who is still all about the daily drama in their life — especially if they expect you to dry their tears after every one of their regular crises.


Ask yourself: Do you feel completely drained when you leave this friend? Do you feel that they are causing most of the drama?


Maybe it’s time to step away and let them talk to someone else (preferably, a professional) to help. Let them know you’re still here for them if they need you, but that the dynamic of your relationship has to change, since you have your own things to worry about going on in your life.



Featured image courtesy Shutterstock/Accord

Danielle Page is the founder of, a blog that provides necessary information for navigating the awkward phase of adulthood known as “quarterlife.” Danielle’s work has been featured on Woman’s Day, Your Tango, The New York Times, Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post.

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