People view friendships in two different ways (my opinion from what I have gathered throughout the years). I know people who believe the more the merrier & if you have a lot of friends then you’re a very liked person (I used to be this person but have changed in the last year & will explain that soon). The other set of people feel the less the merrier & they hold those few friends to highest of standards & as if they are family.
The more the merrier…
I used to fit in this category. I used to be a people pleaser & felt that everyone had to like me. If someone did not like me, I became upset & questioned my own worth. This is completely wrong. Sure, opinions do matter to some extent, but if someone does not want to be your friend that is OKAY & does not mean there is something wrong with you.
I used to believe if someone doesn’t have friends that meant something about them as a person (although, this is true in some cases for sure!), but I realized throughout the years that some people are not very social, do not like drama, & just prefer to be alone. My husband is this way. He would tell you he doesn’t have friends, but we have a lot of mutual friends. My husband spends his days off alone & he laughs whenever I encounter friendship drama/anxiety because he “doesn’t have to deal with that bullshit”. He’s right.
Just because someone has a lot of friends does not mean they are a wonderful person. Narcissists have friends…in the end their true colors show & they lose said friends, but they have them nonetheless. Plenty of manipulative or two-faced people have friends. Hitler had thousands of followers, but Jesus only had 12…
Often times people with a lot of friends are compensating for something…i.e. lack of family, lack of self-esteem, lack of drama (they want drama), lack of inspiration, wanting to feel loved, looking for self-worth (in the wrong places), etc.
The less the merrier…
This is definitely true when it comes to drama. The less people you have to put up with the merrier your life will be! I’m starting to definitely feel this way. I know tons of great individuals who have only a handful of friends. Does this mean they are pathetic, ignorant, mean people? NO! Absolutely not. Actually, the more intelligent a person is the less friends they accrue. There are actual scientific studies on this, by the way. Ever read the saying, “It isn’t about the quantity of friends it’s about the quality?” This also holds true. The older you get the more you realize you don’t need a lot of friends only diverse & good quality of friends. It has taken me years to realize this.
My friendships throughout the years…
As I mentioned before, I used to (until this past year) want/need a lot of friends. I felt this proved what kind of person I am & proved that I am likable. People who actually matter in my life know I’m a fun-loving & often blunt (not in a mean/bad way!) person. Just last year I had a birthday dinner where 28 people showed up. How amazing! That many people love and support me?! In reality though, that doesn’t mean everyone is my close friend. That doesn’t mean I’m an awesome person. However, I know what I bring to the table & have found my own self-worth to know that the number of friends I have does not define me!
I can & will admit why I wanted so many friendships. I have some low self-esteem issues & being surrounded by lots of people makes me feel loved and appreciated (two things I struggle to do for myself). I also did not have siblings my age growing up. I have a relationship with 2 older biological sisters & definitely feel I missed out on that growing up. I love them to death & go out of my way to see them in my spare time. Until I found them, friends filled that void. I still consider my closest friends to be family, don’t get me wrong!
Just in this past month I have been thinking about the quality of friendships in my life. What is interesting is just today I had a conversation with my internship supervisor & she said, “the more educated you become the less amount of friends you have, but those friends are more relatable”. I was stunned because I was just thinking that on my way to my internship this morning & for the past month I have been feeling much better around people who share my knowledge!
Now, this is NOT to say we are snobby. It sounds so snobby (I know), but it’s more about who you start to gravitate to. My best explanation is now that I’ve learned so much about reality, humans, behaviors, facts, etc. I enjoy spending my time with people in my “social work network” because I don’t have to explain myself or end up in arguments. We have the same thought processes. I don’t have the energy to constantly defend oppressed people to individuals who do not educate themselves on certain matters. I don’t have the energy to pull out evidence based articles/research to prove my point. There’s no point in that. I also don’t feel the need (anymore) to constantly prove I’m right. If people truly want to know the truth, they’ll find a way to educate themselves on certain worldly issues.
I work in a field where I encounter very diverse individuals (culturally, personality, religiously, etc.) I have been insulted & drained, anxious & exhausted, burnt-out & physically harmed, etc. I don’t want to feel that way when dealing with my personal life. I want to know people share the same professional values & struggles as I do & can sit down with a bottle of wine at the end of the day to discuss these things with each other without someone not understanding. It literally gives me a headache when I have to explain certain topics with people not in my field. Sigh*
I definitely don’t expect my “older” friends to pick up a social work book and follow in my footsteps. I love the diversity amongst my friends! However, I typically enjoy my social work/psychology peers & friends a lot. I’m super comfortable with them & enjoy how blunt/honest we are to each others’ faces. It’s a no bullshit experience with these individuals. I don’t walk on eggshells because I’m afraid to offend someone, I don’t feel like I’m secretly disliked, I don’t feel insecure around them, & I enjoy the knowledge we share!
So, if you find yourself drifting from friends or not making many new ones just know it’s completely normal! Please keep in mind you don’t have to apologize for “moving on” because it is a normal human concept, although, it does cause anxiety amongst both people involved. It’s also extremely normal to only have a few friends. Just because someone has “more” friends than you does not make them better than you or more likable. Sometimes people can’t say no & end up with “friends” they don’t really like. Just be honest & upfront from the start to avoid drama & heartache. I’ve learned my lesson (the hard way) through the years!
P.S. Don’t get me started on Facebook. I will share a link below because this man explains it in a nicer way than I would, haha. Also, I have a previous blog post about social media & how “likes” literally mean nothing & people should stop looking at social media attention as true attention. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, by the way, I deactivated my fb account 4 days & I feel wonderful! I may or may not reactivate it at the end of April when my semester is over.