On Friend Groups – And Why I Don’t Have One

This post was inspired by Beverly’s post on her blog, Bev’s Eye View. Because I’ve seen a few instances, and know quite a lot of people who are part of a group of friends and love it. And I can see why! You have a group of people who you can go out and do things with, who have your back, who feel much like a second family. Why wouldn’t that be awesome?

Unfortunately, I’ve just had too many bad experiences with groups of friends, that I kind of don’t want one anymore.

First, let me clarify.

This is not to say that I don’t have friends.

I do have friends. Lots of friends. Some might say too many friends.

While people in friend groups have a set group of people they reach out to when they need someone, I’m not limited to that. I have like 5 people I’m super close to, but they’re not close to each other. Most of them don’t even know each other. And then I’ve got about 15-20 people outside of those 5 (who again, mostly don’t know each other), and genuinely enjoy hanging out with on a regular basis. So I maintain those friendships.

I just honestly prefer hanging out in very small groups, or one-on-one for more personal human interaction time. In elementary school, it was always about “who was mad at who for what stupid reason”. I have two friends I still talk to that I knew in elementary school.

In high school, I had probably the closest thing to a friend group I’ve ever had. I was dating a guy and was welcomed in by his friends. I quite liked having them there, but there was always the itching feeling that they only included me because I was dating their best friend. We broke up. Four years later, the friendships still stuck. Until they didn’t, and I was promptly “ejected” – shall we say – from being included in that group. Cool.

I’ve sort of been included in friend groups of the boys I’ve dated, but after this incident, I was much more aware of maintaining my own friendships and not relying on this means of meeting people. Because when the relationships ended, so did the friendships.

I find my experience with friend groups has been very negative because I see them, a lot of the time, from the outside-in. The people involved in them are cliquey; they’re scared of not being invited out with the rest of the group; they don’t venture into new territory and try to include new people.

I love not having a friend group.

I have various people in my life who I can talk to about different things and who know me on different levels. I can spill my deepest secrets to a friend I met in college, then the next day go to a book signing with a friend I met online, and then have drinks with a friend from work, and then have a girls painting night with a friend I met through a friend, and then go to a concert with a friend I met through an ex. I’m not stuck doing the same thing with the same people, ever. And quite honestly, it’s fuckin’ sweet.

I’m not limited to the same 5 or 6 perspectives as people who have the same friends forever. I’m not scared to talk to new people and cultivate new friendships. In fact, I love meeting a new person and getting to know them, and going on some new adventure together.

There are few friends I’ve hung onto for a number of years, but most of my friends come and go. And I don’t mind. I enjoy knowing people, no matter how temporary. Old friends fade and new ones come and add to my life in new ways. And the ones that do stick around, well those are the ones I see as my family.

So I guess my “friend group” exists. It’s just 20-30 people big. And I never hang out with them all at once.

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