People who are into self-development, at some point, realise that old habits hold them back.

Those old habits come from rituals, people and places. Obligations, commitments and even clothes they have mentally outgrown, even if they still physically fit.

Once this happens, they seek to purge. They change their trajectory by changing their geography. They replace their wardrobe. They make attempts to stop going to those same places and doing those same things they have always done.

You might have undertaken a similar exercise.

Maybe you went a little further. Maybe you let go of people. Friends you no longer have anything in common with. Family members who rub you up the wrong way. Old acquaintances you just saw out of courtesy.

Different things now light us up. We are apathetic to the conversation topics that once enthralled us. We don’t have much in common anymore, we want different things.

It wasn’t a big deal, you just phased them out.

But why do we really feel the need to let go of people?

Are we somehow embarrassed of our former selves? Do we realise that we have progressed so much since they first knew us, that we don’t want to be reminded of who we once were?

If you’ve given up drinking, do you want to be reminded of when your best friend from college carried you home after a heavy night out? If your career is going well, do you want to be mocked for all those business ideas you had, that never took off?

We don’t let go of the people who grow with us. We let go of the ones who try to knock us back down.

Be a better friend

This applies the other way around. There are people in your life who have undertaken massive transformation. Lost weight, got strong, built an empire, started a family. They too, don’t want knocking back down. They don’t want the stories of who they once were. They want to be seen for who they have become.

So be that friend instead.

Be the friend who is proud of them today, not the one who goes down memory lane to taunt them with bad haircuts, terrible ex-boyfriends and that awkward thing they once said.

Talk about their future, not their past. Support their reinvention. Be their biggest fan, cheer them on, grow with them.

Stay relevant to their world by seeing them for who they are now, not who they once were.

Grow up with your friends, don’t leave each other behind.