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Accepting That People Change With Time, And Not Always For The Better

Childhood photographs are not the only things that remind me of how much my life has changed throughout the years. The other reminders happen to be people as well. Noticing how I have changed over the years makes me believe that I have done so for the better. But, I’m sure there is a tiny percentage of people who know me and would think otherwise. Likewise, I have seen people change with time, and not always in good ways.

So, I wonder what is it that causes people to change? Why do people change?

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

To answer that question, I’d like to state that time changes people, sure. There are other things too, chiefly the desire to be something or someone else. The need to find fulfillment in life, to adapt to surroundings, situations, or circumstances, and lastly, to protect themselves, are common motivators for change. It could also entice you toward a negative path that is not always in your best interest to follow. With every passing year, as most people turn wiser and evolve, there are yet a handful of them who devolve.

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I am the kind of person who loves to invest in people. So, just like any other investor, after I have spent a considerate amount of time, energy, and love on these people, I wait for returns. And by that I expect, yes, I expect that these people become my friends for life. It’s an unsaid bond that has been signed and stamped for eternity. There’s no going back from there. But, I’ve had to let go of some people from my life who did not meet these expectations.

Like any other kid, I grew up with a close-knit group of friends. Some from school, others from the neighborhood, and the rest from college. I had a different relationship with each of them depending on the kind of people they were, and most importantly, the way they made me feel around them. In short, each of these friendships was intense, exclusive, and dear in their own sweet ways. My expectations of the relationships didn’t always match up with reality, leaving me feeling disappointed. Managing change wasn’t one of my strong suits, because I would be adamant about what my expectation of the “return on investment” was. Little did I know that people and change are correlated and, almost always, people change with time.

My hardest blow was when I had a fall out with one of my best friends, and, for a very long time, I just couldn’t cope with not having that person around. I was left disheartened and disappointed. The first few months drained me emotionally and my immediate reaction to her name was that of resentment, irritation, and agony. I felt betrayed, deceived, and foolish for having trusted her. I couldn’t digest the fact that she was the same person I confided in, loved deeply, and cared for. As months passed, I found some respite from that suffering because I began to acknowledge and accept that people change with time. Just like your own feelings that swing in different directions from time to time, people have the ability to evolve or rather devolve from what they used to be.

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Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

The hardest part about letting some people go is knowing that you gave your all to that relationship and got nothing out of it – nothing that brought you peace, nothing that fetched good memories, and worse still, a fear that develops in your heart to never trust again.

That said, after a few years, I tried to change my thought process and began thinking, what if people never changed and that it was my own perception of them that had changed? So I started testing this theory. I made mental notes about the pros and cons of every friend, a mental assessment that helped me gauge my own thinking and also the depth of those friendships. Soon enough, I figured that the theory was indeed correct. In this context, my friend was always the same right from the start. She was a critical cynic and could be a little outrageous at times. It was my fault that I failed to look beyond the surface that she had painted oh so very well. Every time I was with her, I was led to believe that she was my best friend and that we shared something unique.

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A unique farce.

As I grew older, it dawned on me that she was not only manipulative but also someone who fed on cheap thrills and would go to great lengths to entertain herself. A sadist, gossip monger, and someone who wasn’t worthy of love and kindness; she betrayed me in a way that left me scarred for life. I had perceived her to be a person I could lean on, while all along, she loathed me and harbored ill feelings towards me. So when the day came to cut ties, I was able to do so with great ease. She made it easy for me; it just ended.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

One of the few things I learnt from this fall out was that one can never estimate a person’s character when you are close to them. You need to take a step back and observe from a distance. A bird’s eye view gives you great clarity and helps you assess the person or situation. So while I hung out with her, everything sparkled as though it were diamonds in bright white light. But all it ever was, was tiny pieces of glass cut and strewn all over. Perhaps I will never fully recover from these wounds, and that makes it difficult for me to trust people again. But for that, I am grateful to her because one of life’s biggest lessons is to not trust anyone easily.

Although I have now forgiven her and made peace with the past, the episode made me become more susceptible to the idea that the only thing that remains constant is change. The sooner you accept this fact, the better it is. People change with time and it’s no one’s fault. Sometimes people don’t change but your own perception of them does with time. Trust and follow your instincts when that happens!

It is hard on people to see people they love change, but if you don’t warm up to the idea of change, how can one enjoy other changes in life? For example, the change in seasons and respective climatic conditions. Don’t we all enjoy that sunny summer after the biting cold winter? The rainbow after a heavy rain? So again, while you think that a change in a person’s behavior is not necessarily for the best, the change was probably all that person needed and the change has in turn been good for that person.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I cannot emphasize enough how priorities change with time, and to fulfill those priorities one has to alter their lifestyle, habits, and decisions.

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While my story of change in people has more to do with a friend, you could also see similar changes take place in people who could be family members, partners and spouses, siblings, or children. It is a lot at times to manage and comprehend changing behaviors. Not always do you find ways to keep up with the magnitude of that behavior. The only reasonable thing to do is to play along and be more accepting, because you can’t resuscitate a past relationship, nor can you replace it easily, but you need to find ways to live with it (if you can). If the person means something to you, you will learn ways to deal with it and after your re-evaluation, if you think you would be better off without them, then so be it.

Let it go!

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Article Name
Accepting That People Change With Time, And Not Always For The Better
Change is the only constant. But accepting that people change with time, and it might not always be for the better is a bitter pill to swallow.
Steffi D'Souza

Steffi D'Souza

I am a converted dog lover, lipstick addict, and travel enthusiast. I have a distinct love for old architecture and the ocean. I like reading books but love writing more. After experimenting with a gamut of roles in various leading corporations, I have finally discovered my passion. Thus, I have given up my corporate job to pursue a full time career in writing. I hope to write books and I'm already working on my first novel. I blog about all happy things on