Is it okay not to have a āfriend groupā? I have friends whom I love dearly, but I rarely hangout with more than one of them at a time, even pre-pandemic. Am I missing out on something socially?
Your question is one I ask myself a lot. I also donāt have a āfriend groupāāthough it wasnāt always this way. Until I moved away to college, I had a small group of girlfriends, and we did everything together. Sleepovers on school nights, applying for jobs at the same restaurants, learning how to drive a stick shiftāwe even went to prom as a group, opting to protest the patriarchy (kidding, we didnāt know that word yet). Still, we figured, why wait for boys to ask us to the dance when weād have way more fun going together?
Since leaving my hometown, that group has dwindled, and now there are just two of us who remain close. Iāve made other friends along the wayāthrough college, travel, and marriageābut each relationship is very different, and I canāt imagine us all hanging out together. Or rather, I can, and the thought of it makes me nervous! I love them all, but like I said, very different.
Iāll admit, sometimes I feel like Iām missing out. When I see other groups of friends togetherāin-person or (letās be real) via social mediaāI get envious. I wonder, Why donāt I have a big group of friends to have dinner parties or travel with?
Especially as an introvert and as someone who prefers one-on-one interactions, Iāll begin to question if there is something wrong with me. If Iām not careful, I can spiral into a negative thought-hole, believing Iām the only person in the entire world who doesnāt have a friend group.
But hereās what I often repeat to myself, and maybe it will help you too: Itās not about the number of friends you have, but about the depth of your relationships. We can have a friend group, but if weāre not investing ourselves into those individual relationships, are we really creating meaningful connections?
Okay, so not everything needs to be about serious conversation and connection. (Lighten up, Kayti.) One could argue itās fun to have a big group of friendsāitās a both/and sort of situation. Having a lot of friends is fun. But so is having one friend. Or five individual friends. Fun is what you make it!
Which leads me to what Iām about to say. And itās something I say in love and mostly to myself: Maybe itās time we stop comparing ourselves to othersāin life, in work, in love, and in our friendships. Itās not helpful for anyone to measure themselves against other people. We are all unique and beautiful individuals. What is best for you and your friendships? Lean into that.
And finallyāpost-pandemicāif you still feel like you want to know what all the fuss is about, why not create a friend group? Itās okay to want to try it out! Consider hosting a gathering. Who knows, maybe your friends are more similar than you think and they will become friends with each other too. The beautiful thing about relationships is that they are always evolving.
So, are you missing out because you donāt have a friend group? Is it truly the more, the merrier? I donāt think so. But thatās ultimately for you to decide.
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Kayti Christian (she/her) is an Editor at ē½ē«åē§°. She has a Masterās in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for enneagram 4s and other sensitive-identifying people. Outside of writing, she loves hiking, reading memoir, and the Oxford comma.