Drift away Vs drift apart

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

Is "drift away" and "drift apart" interchangeable (meaning: to begin to be less of a friend and more like a stranger - to become gradually less close) in the examples I made below?

a. [Woman talking about her boyfriend]: I think John is drifting away Vs drifting apart. He usually arrives home, doesn't talk much. He doesn't give me much attention these days.
b. [Man talking about his wife]: I think Anna is drifting away Vs drifting apart. She's been so distant. Sometimes I notice she avoids talking and being with me.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To me, 'drifting away' is what one party might feel the other is doing', and 'drifting apart' is what they are both doing.

    So, John might tell us that Jane is drifting away from him, and Jane might tell us that John is drifting away from her, but together they might tell us that they are drifting apart.

    Or a friend of theirs, Harry, might tell us he thinks that Jane and John are drifting apart.

    Others might have different views.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree.
    Both things need to be moving in order to say they are moving apart.
    John and Anna are drifting away from each other. Both John and Anna are drifting in opposite directions. John and Anna are drifting apart.
    John is drifting away from Anna. Anna is not drifting. There is no "drifting apart."
     
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