This post is anecdotal, not research based, but it’s interesting. The author’s theory is that older people are more willing to “fire” their friends. He thinks younger people have more but shallower relationships and that younger people’s relationships are more group-oriented, so firing one friend has repercussions with others.
In the past few years, I’ve seen several older people in my life fire friends — explicitly end a non-romantic relationship with another person, sometimes a person they’ve known for quite some time, over an argument that spiraled out of control. Cold turkey. Not a slow fade, not a shift from ally to light acquaintance — actual outright, silent hostility.
I’ve been puzzled by this trend. You lose friends as you get older, and friends are key to happiness and well-being, and it’s harder to make friends when older…so why wouldn’t a 50 year old be flexible during disagreements so as to hold on to every friendship he or she has?