I concur with DHH’s thesis here.
What allowed me to change and prosper was the freedom to grow apart and lose touch with people. It’s hard to change yourself if you’re stuck in the same social orbit. There’s a gravitational force that pulls you into repeating the same circular pattern over and over again. Breaking out of that takes tremendous force.
Many people can reflect on this in the college experience. It’s one of those seminal moments when you make a step change as a person. It happens when you change jobs. Sometimes it happens in the reverse, an alcoholic changes their friends as they become sober. The point is, your social network isn’t a snowball that just gets bigger your entire life. It’s a collection that forms and reforms over years.
I would also add the important thinking around Dunbar’s number that suggests the mean number of people that humans can maintain connections with is 148. The snowball metaphor just frankly doesn’t work unless you are willing to freeze your development in your teens.