Advertisement

6 signs your friend is quiet-quitting your friendship, even if you talk every day

Friends competing park
Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images
  • Just like in romantic relationships, friends can quiet-quit a friendship.

  • Sometimes, the cause of gradual distance is related to hardship in your friend's life.

  • But there are also signs they could be fading out on purpose, according to a psychologist.

Friendship breakups can be just as painful as romantic ones, much because they can play out in similar ways. Just as a spouse can quiet-quit a marriage, a friend may slowly fade out of a friendship on purpose once they feel they've outgrown it.

Dr. Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist and keynote speaker on social connection, told Business Insider that a friend quiet-quitting can be hard to differentiate from a friend simply going through a tough time.

"There is a gradual or sometimes not-so-gradual withdrawal of effort and initiative," Kirmayer said. "The signs can vary, but what tends to be universal is this notable shift in pattern."

She said it's natural for long-term friendships to go through ups and downs as well as lulls as you both experience big life changes like new relationships or cross-country moves.

But if you notice some unusual shifts in how your friend interacts with you, they could be signs they're quiet-quitting, Kirmayer said.

1. They rarely initiate contact anymore

One of the most immediate signs you might notice is your friend "not reaching out as often, not being the one to pick up the phone and call you, or not initiating plans as often," Kirmayer said.

This is where paying attention to patterns is important, too. "Some people do struggle with initiating in friendships to begin with, and so they wouldn't necessarily be the one reaching out to make plans," she said.

But if your friend no longer sends you memes or rarely asks how you're doing when they used to do it all the time, that could be a sign that they're intentionally fading out of the friendship.

2. They don't share as much as they used to

Kirmayer said quiet-quitting "can also look like withdrawal in terms of emotional investment in that friendship."

They might respond to all your texts, but with short, one-word answers. Or they might only skim the surface on phone calls, cycling through the major life updates without going into much detail — even if you keep asking them questions.

Again, some people are not as naturally open as others, but if you used to know every one of their friends by name and now have no idea who they hang out with, that could be by design.

"Vulnerability is so key for the closeness that we feel in our friendships," Kirmayer said. A friend suddenly withholding it could be pulling away on purpose.

3. They stopped asking you deeper questions

The lack of vulnerability can go both ways if a friend is quiet-quitting, Kirmayer said. They might also demonstrate less interest in your life, too.

"You notice that a friend is asking fewer questions," including follow-ups, she said. "So the conversation doesn't necessarily go as deep or doesn't flow in the way that it once did."

Listening and responding to "bids" for attention is crucial for any close relationship to thrive. If a best friend who once spent hours talking through your breakup with you now barely asks how your dating life is going, the friendship will experience a shift.

4. They won't hang out with you one-on-one

If you're part of a bigger friend group, Kirmayer said their dynamic with you within that group might change if they're quiet-quitting.

One example is "only being open to seeing each other in a group setting," she said. But if you ask to hang out just with them, they might push it off or always cancel plans.

5. You asked, and there's nothing else going on

As mentioned earlier, sometimes a friend is pushing you away because they're dealing with a lot. They might be depressed, burned out at work, or going through a grieving period.

In those cases, a lot of withdrawing can look like quiet-quitting. That's why Kirmayer said she "always champions the importance of open and honest conversation" such as asking your friend directly if they're doing ok.

If nothing else, their response can bring some clarity. They might suddenly open up about an issue you had no idea they were dealing with, or they might remain distant, no matter how many questions you ask them.

6. You're confused about your friendship status

If a friend is quiet-quitting (and the decision isn't mutual), you will probably feel unsure about where you stand as friends. You might still see them as one of your best friends but worry that they see you as little more than an acquaintance anymore.

"When there's a mismatch of expectations or investment in the friendship, the quiet-quitting can be quite painful," Kirmayer said.

She also noted that sometimes friends aren't quiet-quitting, but changing how much they prioritize a friendship if they've moved to a new city or just had a baby. "As adults, we can feel very torn between the different relationships and responsibilities that we have in our lives," she said.

Just as you would with quiet-quitting in a romantic relationship, Kirmayer suggested giving yourself the agency to talk to your friend about how you feel. Perhaps the friendship on your end has been one-sided, or that they've felt jealous of some aspect of your life and wanted to take a step back.

Ultimately, you can't stop them from quiet-quitting, but at least you'll know you weren't afraid to look for the reasons why.

Read the original article on Business Insider