When I was nine years old, I watched Aquamarine on repeat in my room because TBH, I didn’t have any friends. The characters that Emma Roberts, Sara Paxton, JoJo, and Arielle Kebbel played were the girlfriends I always wanted and needed. But after moving with my family to a new state, I was, for lack of a better term, a loner. The new girl in town. And somehow, I haven’t ever escaped that title.
Between the ages of nine and 24, I moved seven times across three different states. Starting fresh is something I kick ass at, but what I struggle with is making new friends and maintaining long-distance friendships. I envy the girls I know who have had the same best friend since kindergarten (my sister) and the girls I know who had like a million bridesmaids (none of them ever being me). The friends I have had throughout my life have been 1) people from school, 2) friends of my family members, 3) friends of my partner, and 4) coworkers. So, they all have fallen under the category of obligated or temporary.
At this point in my life, I’ve accepted the fact that long-standing, close friendships, might always be unfamiliar to me. And after many years of thinking something was wrong with me or that I should be embarrassed by that, I became OK with having a few here and there. That doesn’t mean I’m not still envious of those who do have those types of friendships, it just means I have learned to value the friends that I do have, no matter how they came into my life, how long we stay consistent friends, or how “close” I consider them to be.
Most of the time, it’s not as sad as it sounds. I don’t consider myself “the girl with no friends” anymore, but I’ll be honest when I say I’m still “the girl with no plans.” My friends and I are like ships in the night. We try to make plans more often than we do but our schedules differ, our lives get in the way, and we end up sending “we need to get together soon!” or “let me know what you end up doing Saturday!” texts that we forget to follow up on. It does make the time we spend together IRL incredibly special, but those times are few and far between.
If you can relate and need a reminder of the good that can come from having a small friend group, I’ve done some serious reflecting and am outlining the silver linings below:
The Perks of Small Friend Groups
I’ll be the first to admit that having a small friend group can be really lonely at times, but it’s not all bad all the time. There are some pretty good perks on the flip side of it like being able to form stronger bonds, only having to remember a handful of birthdays, and more noteworthy advantages:
There’s less drama
There’s no room for he-said-she-said when there are only a few of you. The drama that comes with a big friend group is practically non-existent in a small friend group, and when you’re in your late twenties like me, that’s a true blessing. That’s not to say that everything is perfect all the time, but there is less friction than there probably would be if our friendship dynamics were shared with more people.
You can have stronger connections
You know when you’re at a party and you’re trying to circulate and talk to everyone? You might know a lot of people and consider them friends, but the conversations hardly ever go beyond the “how’s it going” stage. Now think about when you’re spending time with a few friends and how different those conversations are. We’re way more likely to open up, have deeper conversations, and really listen to each other. I know we’ve all heard this a million times, but friendships really are about quality over quantity.
And I know this is small potatoes, but when you only have a handful of friends, it’s pretty easy to remember all of their important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and I always think that sets a good friend apart from a great one.
You always have time for self-care
My favorite perk of them all? The amount of time that I get to spend with myself. Sure, there are some nights I wish a friend was available to grab dinner instead of having no plans, but more often than not, I’m pretty excited to cuddle up on the couch, do a facemask, and shop online while I watch a rom-com. Spending more time with myself means I can spend more time working on myself. I’m trying new fitness classes, reading more books, becoming more self-aware, prioritizing my goals, and a million other things that have made me a better person. Because of this, I’m becoming a better friend to the ones I do have.