Advertisement

If you're in a life rut, you may need a friendship reshuffle. Here's how to do it.

A group of friends against a red brick wall, with some friends standing and some upside down
A clinical psychologist told Business Insider about how you can preserve your friendships during life changes and how to know when to call it quits.Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images
  • It's normal for how close you feel to friends to change at different points in your life.

  • A psychologist shared why a friendship reshuffle can be better than breaking up or quiet quitting.

  • A reshuffle keeps a friend in your life while allowing you to branch out and focus on new people.

If a friend or friend group annoys you lately, the internet proposes a few ways to deal with it. You can formally break up with them and text them paragraphs of therapy-speak, or you can quiet-quit the friendship if you feel that ghosting is too harsh.

All these options can deeply hurt your friend and you if you regret the breakup.

Luckily, there's another, less permanent option for needing some space: a friendship reshuffle.

"There can be a difference between a full withdrawal and a downgrading of the connection," Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist, told Business Insider. A downgrade means you still want to stay in each other's lives but may change the frequency of seeing each other.

In general, there are many benefits to having multiple close friends and widening your social circle in that it helps you grow and gives you a broader support network. It also takes the pressure off of one best friend or group to always be everything for you.

Kirmayer shared how to reinvigorate your social life with a reshuffle — and leave room for later reconnection.

1. Be real about your grievances

The most important thing to ask yourself before you reshuffle is: Do you want to stay friends in the long run, or is there a genuine issue that makes you want to pull away?

"If the friendship chronically makes you feel unsafe, unseen, or unappreciated, then it may be worth questioning why you feel compelled to hang on to it," Kirmayer said. If your friend has done something, such as make you feel used or put you down out of jealousy, it might not be a relationship worth preserving.

But a reshuffle is more about you and what you want out of your social interactions. Kirmayer said you might wish to make new friends through shared hobbies because your current friends don't share your interests.

2. Rebalance — but don't withdraw

Sometimes, your reason for a reshuffle might come from the friendship dynamic itself, Kirmayer said. If you feel a friendship is a little one-sided — and you've already addressed it — you might want to adjust how much you put into the relationship.

"You've accepted that they are not putting in as much effort or attention into the friendship as you are, and you want to create a bit more balance to reduce feelings of resentment in order to stay close," she said.

In those cases, you can cut down on how many texts and phone calls you answer, using the time to connect with other people or do something that brings you more joy.

3. Stay in touch in smaller ways

As you encounter various life changes, you may need a reshuffle to avoid becoming overwhelmed. "Sometimes this has less to do with the friendship itself and more to do with life circumstances, misaligned schedules, physical distance," Kirmayer said.

Kirmayer said you still need to make an effort, whether investing time in new relationships or taking a breather from old ones.

"Our friendships are fluid, and staying peripherally connected can allow for that reconnection at a later point," she said. "We just want to make sure we are tending to that relationship in small ways over time — checking in, sending small updates, saying 'happy birthday,' remembering important dates."

Life is full of surprises: In a few years, you might end up closer than ever to your old friends — all because you took the time to reconnect with yourself.

Read the original article on Business Insider