Friendshifts : From BFFs to Coffee Friends


Life is full of changes. While most of us may not be where we envisaged ourselves to be 10 years ago, I certainly hope that none of us is in the same place we were back then either. As we move forward with our lives – careers, travels, relationships, babies, etc – it is almost impossible to carry everything from your past with you (who wants all that baggage anyway?), including sadly some friendships. Maybe I’m a heartless little witch but in my post today I’m going to tell you why downgrading (or even completely letting go) of a friendship isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As we grow up and life takes us on its various adventures maintaining friendships becomes difficult, NOT impossible, just difficult. Sometimes  it’s simply a matter of distance as one of you moves to deepest darkest Africa while the other decides to spends the 20s/30s/40s living at home with their folks. Then there are those cases where your interests diverge with one of you joining a hectic religious cult while the other spends every spare moment training for a marathon. We all get busy and while technology has certainly made communication a lot easier, sometimes the effort of dedicating hours to skype calls, etc just becomes too much too handle.

Living a somewhat transient lifestyle has taught me that if you work on your personality making friends shouldn’t be too difficult wherever you go in the world. However, I must say that native Capetonians are a rather odd bunch in that they insist on maintaining historic friendships with people they’ve known since kindergarten but no longer have anything in common with. Quite frankly it seems a little silly to waste precious time investing in something that brings you minimal joy (they always bitch and moan about it after the fact) and is based on something as arbitrary as your parents being besties with one another or you being placed in the same class at school or living in the same suburb (all things you have no power over).

Look I’m certainly in no position to talk. I probably do a complete overhaul of my friendship group once or twice a year and to some that makes me fickle. But to be completely honest life is short and I’d rather spend time expanding my social circle and finding people who add value to my life rather than holding on to something that no longer serves a purpose. I not advocating completely disposing of old friendships (unless of course the irreconcilable differences – like them becoming a member of the Klu Klux Klan) but just downgrading from forcing yourself to see them every week to maybe a catch up twice a year, if that. Just because your lives have taken different paths doesn’t mean that they are a bad person and meeting for a pleasant coffee (hence the term coffee friend) or the odd glass of wine once in a while isn’t going to kill you.

Of course, there are some friendships that will stand the test of time but quality friendships aren’t always about the people you’ve known the longest. And while you shouldn’t forget the good times, now that you’ve moved on clinging onto something through obligation isn’t healthy. Nor is asking for all or nothing . Don’t hate on people for making new friends – that’ll only make you come across as bitter and jealous. If someone is drifting away just let them go. It really isn’t the end of the world.

To conclude, as we transition through each chapter of our lives we are bound to meet lots of weird and wonderful people. While some are there for the long haul others might only feature momentarily but leave you with some good memories. We are no longer in high school and there really doesn’t have to be a competition for the BFF badge. In fact, the coffee friend status will likely mean less stress in the long term anyway. The best thing though when it comes to friendship is that the concept is so flexible. In a romantic relationship when the two parties drift apart, cracks appear and chances are a break-up is in sight but with friends, if we are mature enough, it is possible to simply engineer a friendshift instead of completely terminating the arrangement.

So enough of my wittering Rinsers. What are your thoughts about the changing nature of friendships? Are you forever jumping from one squad to the next or do you believe in holding onto historic friendships at any cost? Share some of your stories in the comments below. 







    • Of course being ditched isn’t particularly nice but I’m not talking about ditching people but downgrading as it were. It’s not necessarily a bad thing and it might be a better solution than forcing something that no longer works the way it once did.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh, I understand what you’re saying.

        You run the risk of sounding elitist, though. Oh, SO many people want to be friends with me; who has the time?

        That’s what happens mid 20’s when it’s all in front of you and your worst tragedy is a bad breakup.

        Some of those discarded would be the ones who’ve known you forever and would be there no matter what because they always have been. But I don’t think that’s something you can know until 10 or 15 years later. And if you could know it at 25, you wouldn’t learned a lot of valuable lessons you are supposed to learn.

        Great irony of life, I suppose.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s not about being Miss Popular. It’s just the we all get busy with life as an adult – work, travel, babies, etc – and life moves us in different directions. Cape Town is known for being particularly cliquey but these groups are often based on high school friendships,etc, etc which is all well and good except in actual fact most of us no longer have much in common with those we used to hand out with in our teens,etc. Even as adults friendships lack solid foundations – simply drinking together isn’t really common ground – I think real friendships have to have more substance than that.

        As for old timers being the ones that’ll be there when you need a real friend. I don’t think the quality of a friendship can be judged simply by its length. It is possible to form a solid friendship that’s worth more than something that started in mums and tots group later in life.

        Yes, its horrible to be downgraded/discarded but maybe its also a blessing in disguise. Coffee dates really aren’t that bad. And the mum with 5 kids probably struggles to get her head around the chick thats eternally single and still playing the field at 30.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I never really understood that people would establish friendships solely for their benefit until I met a girl who used me to gain access to a social circle in an old workplace. I thought we would be close forever, it was a very intense friendship. She then moved office, established a new work “bestie” and then later moved city. I was very hurt by the quick disposal and the nil contact. Then I realised that really, that is what everyone does and more to the point, what I should be doing. Like you say, life is short, join the game. Life is about moments, have the best ones you can and personally I think you can only do that by changing your friends as you change yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It doesn’t sound like she intentionally used you. I swear if I spent every spare moment skyping people I’ve been friends with in the past – I would end up never having time to go out, have new experiences and meet new people. You can’t live in the past while the world changes around you.

      Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll follow the blog.


      Liked by 3 people

      • I agree, she didn’t. Nor does she have any idea how it made me feel. It just took me time to let go. Just like you say, you can’t live in the past when the world is changing and moving forward. Love your blog, I’ll keep reading 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that relationships are fluid. I still have many historical friendships, but because I live far away from them, there’s very little burden to maintain the relationship. Social media has made it easier to keep in touch, and I look forward to catching up when I’m back home. Although, due to time constraints, I often have to prioritize who I can visit, but I don’t feel guilty about this.

    With my local friends, I tend to keep a smaller, close knit group, rather than a lot of aquaintances. While I physically see some of them more than others due to our schedules, I consider them all to be close friends.

    I tend to look at friendships like this: If we can pick up right where we left off, like we saw each other yesterday, even if it’s been 6 months, then I consider that a special friendship.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it also helps when friends can be low maintenance in that they know you are far away and busy so they understand when you don’t communicate all the time but when you do the banter is still good and you pick up when you left off.

      Thanks for your comment. Hope you’ll keep following our blog.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree! I think people are constantly changing, and therefore relationships should be consistently changing too. If a friendship isn’t serving you for the better anymore, then there’s no harm in moving back to just being acquaintances.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perfectly said.

      The worst is when you see people hanging on to something that they don’t like and then getting all bitchy over it. You might as well let it go gracefully!

      Hope you’ll keep following our blog.



  4. I like this post. I am currently struggling with the loss of my best friend of 12 years. When I ended things with my ex, he went crying to my bestie, telling her lies about me and instead of asking me about it, she took his side. She won’t talk to me now. I didn’t do anything to her, so its very painful that she has pushed me out of her life. I would settle to be a ‘coffee friend’ with her simply because I enjoy her company/friendship, but that seems to be out of the question. People close to me have told me that its a blessing in disguise: if this is how she truly views our friendship, then I don’t need her in my life, but I can’t help to think that she chose my ex over me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! That is quite dramatic. I’ve also found that people are not willing to occupy the middle ground of being your coffee friend when once upon a time they were your bestie. This ‘all or nothing’ mentality is rather immature if you ask me – especially when we hit out 20s/30s – surely people have better things to do that worry about their status. To some extent I see where they are coming from – you once used to hang out together always and now you have new interests and with that comes new people – they probably feel like they’ve been replaced. But we are all adults, I’m sure we’ll get over things with time.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Might peoples perceptions of themselves view the way they see their friendships.
    As an adult with a large family, I don’t have friends I see on a daily basis. In fact, my teenagers tease me about having no friends. But I don’t feel friendless. I have great relationships with three people I’ve known all my life, even though we live in three different spots. And I have a pile of acquaintances that I talk to in passing, or have coffee with from time to time. I never feel jaded or downgraded. People are busy and have lives that don’t involve me or rotate around me, and that’s okay. Now when I was younger, I might have been more offended, feeling like no one had time for me. But seriously now, I appreciate that I don’t need to put so much focus into my friendships. I would be exhausted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree with you.

      I guess when we are younger our lives are more about having an active social life which involves friends but as people settle down it’s more about them focusing on their famil/careers – hence the need for low maintenance people!

      Thanks for reading. Keep following us.


  6. I agree with what you’re saying. I have two close friends I made in high school but the fact is our values have always been very similar and we have lots of interest in common. Otherwise the historical thing doesn’t work for me. As a kid/young adults we’re often friends with people for the wrong reasons. I had this one friend who’s always been just purely mean and negative. Over the years and especially after I moved countries we would only speak every few months. And yet when her wedding came and I ended up not being able to come she basically stop talking to me. She couldn’t understand that I wouldn’t move all my life around to accommodate one night in a historical friend’s life.


  7. I still have friends I’ve had since primary school, we went to High School together, I left them behind when I went to College. Though each of us has friends outside of that friendship circle, we still maintain our relationship. Sure we’ve had our falling outs, we’ve disagreed on things, but always manage to reconnect. I have never befriended someone for personal gain, though some of my friendships do come with benefits, well maybe just one-time 😉 , but I usually don’t know how connected a person is until after the friendship has grown.

    As far as dropping friends, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to do that myself. Life usually does it for me. What I mean is, people have disappeared from my life over the years and I never understood why until something happens and I realise that, that person was not right for me. I tend to attract like-minded people, though sometimes there are people I try to force a friendship with, knowing there’s no synchronicity, then for one reason or another the friendship just fizzles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you in most cases life does the hard work for you and things just fizzle out and the good thing about that is that there is no bad blood so you leave the door open to pick things up again should your life paths cross again.

      There is only one instance when I had someone basically give me an ultimatum – and say that they wouldn’t stay in my life unless they were my BFF and chose them above everyone else. I knew I’d miss them but I also knew the ultimatums wouldn’t stop there…and I’d never be left to explore other avenues . The person would judge every new friend I had and every new activity I decided to try out. They weren’t a bad person, just they had an issue that I couldn’t handle.

      I think the key is even when you do nice things for people you can’t hold that over them for ever more and likewise you can’t maintain something out of obligation because someone was good to you once upon a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that’s a first! An ultimatum in a friendship, well first for adults. I know in Primary School on the play grounds friends gave me ultimatums all the time. But they really weren’t serious because in the end we all ended being friends. You have to put a value on yourself in ALL relationships I find. You have to ask yourself, is this friendship beneficial to me as person? And also remember there are plenty good people with issues looking for someone to fix those issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. As you get older you lose friends that you find out were not really your friends. Your true friends will be there and the one thing that will always be true is they will always have your best interest at heart. I have list some who I thought were my friends now they have nothing to do with me. But it made room for new people to becomes friends. I guess I like my life long friends best but I adjusted to having newer friends as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s not so fun when you are the one being left behind though. I tried to be mature about it. But it feels like high school sometimes when your friend moves on with a new job, new friends, new lifestyle and no longer has time for the stuff you used to do together. Oh well, we come into this world alone and we’ll leave alone. I guess friends just make the process of life more bearable.


  10. I know as you get older you look deeper into the friendships and unfortunately that’s when you find out there may not be any deep roots. All you find is surface level stuff. I have one “friend” that I love and know that she loves me but I am the one that works the realtionship. I am the one that calls, I am the one that initiates get togethers, etc. I finally tested the friendship out and told myself I won’t call, or even say “hey” first when we see each other next; I’ll wait for her to start the conversation. The next time we saw each other I just made sure I was busy when she walked in and guess what? NOTHING! She didn’t speak to me at all. So, I continued this TEST and we didn’t speak for months! She never called to ask if something was wrong or ask how my day was or do I want to get together. We saw each other at an event each week and still nothing. WOW! Yes, it was awkard but atleast I know the truth about the friendship. I was the only one working it and I don’t want that type of ‘friendship’. It’s sad to me to have to deal with the truth of our relationship but the sadder thing is she has no idea why the friendship is the way it is now.
    I want true friends that invest in me as much as I invest in them. I am not a high mantenance friend at all. I don’t require a lot of attention I just want to be thought of every so often.
    By the way my “friends” name is not Felicia but I did say “BYE”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha!! But that is madness that she couldn’t even initiate the conversation. If you are the uninterested in someone why would you even bother having them as a friend – it seems very odd to me.

      Thanks for reading the post and your comment. I do hope you’ll keep following.


      • I do not consider online meetings friendships until a considerable amount of time is passed personally and even then I am skeptical because of the vast amount of abuses that can be done online. The same holds true for real life as well – like Dan essentially stated, people have to “click” – naturally, other situations arise in online settings when you are learning on a subject matter, spreading a viewpoint, but to label as a friendship would take an extraordinary amount of time to develop.

        If I am doing research on a particular subject, I do not initiate much contact other than questions, generally as the goal would be to contribute to subject matter and not what I would personally define as a “friendship” in the normal sense of the word. In the States, we would consider this mutualism and reciprocation between bloggers attributable to the author.

        In real life, this subject is different but I would question anyone who would think someone was obligated to make efforts online unless it was a dating site or otherwise, but again, just another view point from the Good Ole American!!


  11. My friend challenged me to go only four days without checking on my friends (i usually call them daily or at least send a text) and guess what, only two were concerned about my sudden silence!! Some didn’t even notice i was off even when i extended the challenge to 10 days.
    i decided to do some pruning and i will not be taking most of them with me to the the next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have also been thinking about having people around that “add value”. However, I do wonder if that is a “taking” attitude rather than a “giving” attitude as there may be people out there who need you to “add value” to their lives. I have a BF who has not been “adding value” but I think perhaps I have been adding value to their life and that is good.
    To me, the adding value person I look for is someone who can inspire me with new ideas, show me things that I may have never thought of before, introduce me to things they are passionate about.
    Perhaps it is a continuum in that I take from the “value adders” so I can “add value” to others

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karen M,

      Thanks for reading the blog. I hope you’ll keep following.

      You make a nice point. My intention was not to sound selfish but to say that friendships should work both ways and when they stop working so well it shouldn’t always be a case of discarding that person but maybe downgrading or changing the nature of the friendship.

      But I see your point – it could be that even in an unequal friendship where we are doing a lot of giving there could potentially be a learning experience for us.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, I think we are talking about different things about “value adding”. I think you are referring to the logistics of the friendship i.e. who organises the catch ups, whereas I think of “value adding” as the friend providing new ideas, inspiration etc through our interaction.
        Either way, friendships do have life cycles (just like mobile phones) and we do have to prioritise those friendships most precious to us and make changes as you suggest.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely attitude. And so true. It is sad that we rarely look at things from other peoples perspectives.
    I swear, this is the longest running ‘blog’ I’ve seen. I keep getting emails for it. 🙂


    • Yay!!!! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you are following it – we’ve been going almost 2 years now and it’s certainly been a learning experience both both in terms of writing and drawing from the opinions of our readers.

      Liked by 1 person

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