Are You Also Guilty Of Catch-Up Friendships?

Friendships are important to a person’s well-being, but maintaining them can be difficult. As we age, the amount of free time we have starts to shrink. When it shrinks too much, our friendships start to get impacted. In recent years, we’ve started to see an uptick in catch-up friendships.

Catch-up friendships are not always healthy or totally beneficial. Are you guilty of this increasingly common gaffe?

What’s A Catch-Up Friendship?

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A catch-up friendship is a friendship where all you ever seem to do is “catch up” with one another. In other words, what you do with your friend is just talk about what you’ve been doing, how things are going, and hear what’s up with them. There are no real new memories being made in a catch-up friendship.

In other words, it’s a rut where both parties end up saying, “Let’s catch up later, okay?”

The Problem

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The problem with catch-up friendships deals with their stagnancy. You’re not making new memories with your friend. You’re stagnating. You might not have much in common anymore. You may not know what’s going on in their life or be unable to help them when they need help.

In other words, catch-up friendships tend to grow stale. You might not even like your friends anymore, or you might have outgrown your relationship with them entirely.

How It Starts

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Friendships are all about doing things together, helping one another, and bonding. Unfortunately, our society is busier than ever before. So, we don’t always have time to do things that maintain friendships. Eventually, certain friendships lose their priority. It turns into a friendship where you almost exclusively catch up over the phone or over coffee.

As years pass, the staleness of the friendship starts getting increasingly noticeable…until you can no longer ignore it.

As You Age…

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As we age, we have more responsibilities that whittle away at our time. You could be fully booked thanks to kids or a more demanding career. Whatever it is, that lack of time negatively impacts your friendships. You still care about your friends, but you just don’t have time to spend with them anymore.

The older you get, the more likely you are to be put into a position where the price of maintaining a friendship exceeds what you can do. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just how life can be.

The Outcome

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The outcome of catch-up friendships tends to spell the eventual end of the friendship. Rather than a sudden break, catch-up friendships tend to wither up and fall apart piece by piece. Eventually, you wake up one day and realize you haven’t seen your buddy in years. Just like that, the friendship ran its course.

Thankfully, you can refresh catch-up friendships as long as you catch that pattern in time.

You Guilty?

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Now is a good time to take a look at your behavior. Have you been brushing off your friends due to a tight schedule? Do you only give them a call to catch up with them? Ask yourself when the last time you actually had a heart-to-heart talk with them was.

If you can’t think of the last time you made a serious memory with someone you deem a friend, you might be falling into a catch-up rut.

Friends As Therapists

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Another key sign of a catch-up friendship concerns your friendship dynamics. Do you use your friends as free therapists? If the only time you call them is to vent about other people or situations, chances are high that you might be in a catch-up friendship. Friends don’t appreciate being free therapists without much in return.

The same can be said about friendships where you both gossip about other people you know. It’s a different take on the therapy issue, except you’re both likely psychoanalyzing a third party. Either way, it’s not a good look.


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Another major sign of a catch-up friendship is its overall energy. Along with being stale, you might feel superficiality with your friend. Everything will feel surface-level, as if you don’t talk much about anything new or share really deep thoughts anymore.

You might also end up hanging out almost exclusively in groups or briefly together. If that’s the case, it’s time to make a change.

Fixing A Catch-Up Friendship

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First things first, it’s good to know that you can fix it. Now would be a good time to clear the air with your friends. If there is something you did to upset them, it could be that the catch-up friendship is actually more two-sided than you think. On the other hand, if you get a clear bill of “chill,” you can start working on it ASAP.

The easiest way to undo the rut of a friendship stuck in catch-up mode is to tell them that you want to be more active in your friendship. In other words, it’s time to work on making more memories.

Start Doing New Things

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The easiest way to avoid the catch-up trap is to start doing things that are new to both of you, such as hitting up a local yoga class or finding the scoop on your local dinner club. That builds new memories, so you don’t have to play catch-up anymore. You have new memories to discuss.

Thankfully, new doesn’t have to cost a dime. Even walking through a park can be a new experience.

Long Distance Activities

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If you’re long distance, don’t panic. You can actually use gaming, live hangouts, and binge-watching the same stuff to create that old school bond. The important thing to keep in mind is that you’re making memories and talking about things other than what’s going on.

Going online is not ideal as a hangout space, but it’s still something.

Forgive Yourself

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It’s a busy, busy world out there. You can get swept up in a bunch of projects, not even realizing that you’re getting squeezed out of social time. It can happen to anyone. Forgive yourself. As long as you work on being a better friend, you’ll find yourself in a much better place later on.

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