I Don’t Have Many Friends
Like most people, I have my share of insecurities. But one of my biggest insecurities is the fact that I don’t have that many friends. It used to really get me down. I wondered if there was something wrong with me.
In the end, it took some toxic friendships, numerous self-help books and life experiences in general for me to realise… it’s okay. I changed my mindset this year, and decided I’m okay with being really close to my siblings and having just a few friends. Here are some of the things I realised on the journey to this discovery:
Family can be friends too
Me with my 2 sisters at a Full Moon Party in Thailand a few years back
Growing up, my family moved around a lot, so we never got the chance to build a big network of friends. Instead, I was blessed with 5 siblings.
My 2 sisters, 3 brothers and I can talk to each other for hours. We tell each other everything, and laugh about all sorts of things together. If I need support or guidance from any of my siblings at any point, every single one of them wouldn’t hesitate to drop everything and be there for me.
When I was going through a bit of a breakdown at work, my brother skipped his university classes and took me hiking in Sabah. When I was going through a break-up in Ireland, my sister allowed me to stay in her beautiful apartment in Budapest for a month. She also visited me multiple times in Spain to make sure I got settled into the country after I left the love of my life to move there.
They are so far away from me now, but knowing I have them in my life keeps me sane and comforted.
Bad friends are worse than no friends
Since I was insecure about my lack of friends, I developed a high tolerance for bad behaviour. When my friend had destructive drama-like tendencies, I put up with it. When my friends put me in dangerous or uncomfortable situations, I brushed it off. And when my friends didn’t show me the same support I offered them, I gave excuses.
Think about the stress and trauma some of your toxic friends have brought into your life. At least when you are alone, you know what to expect! I am at a point in my life when happiness trumps everything. I’d rather be alone than in the company of bad friends.
Your self-worth isn’t dictated by your popularity
For some odd reason, there is the perception that having more friends makes you a better, more successful person. But I’ve seen many people with big friend groups who are neither necessarily happy nor successful.
Here’s the thing: your self-worth shouldn’t be dictated by your popularity. I’ve also met plenty of amazing, kind, smart and thoughtful people with few friends. The person you are is determined by your own thoughts and actions, not what other people think of you. You can be an awesome person, with or without friends.
Everyone has different ideas of what constitutes a friendship
Different people have different criteria for what they determine to be a friend. For me, a friend is someone I trust and can rely on.
So when I hung out with a girl and she started bitching about her best friend, I was very surprised. And when a guy I knew acted like it was normal for his friend to cancel plans at the last minute or to be unreliable, I questioned whether I wanted those types of friends in my life. It’s very easy to call someone a friend, but are they actually a friend? Often, people may be surrounded by friends but feel very alone.
Large friend groups mean you have less time for yourself
Time is a limited commodity, one that we never get back. The practical reality of having a large group of friends is that you will end up having much less time for yourself. Of course, this is completely subjective. Some people might genuinely enjoy spending most of their time on their friends.
One of my many solo travel adventures
Personally, my lack of friends has taught me to be strong and confident in my own space. I learned how to enjoy time alone and explore the world by myself. I’ve gone on backpacking adventures as a solo female traveller to 20 countries. The friends I met along the way were a bonus. I discovered what I truly like and enjoy. I have a good idea about what I want and how to be happy. In my everyday life, I do exactly what I want, when I want, and it’s truly liberating.
Pick a few friends and treasure them
Of course, I do see the value of having good friends. Sometimes when you’re alone, you can end up living in your head. We all tend to be our own worst critics. Good friends can uplift you, and bring you so much joy and happiness.
I met Kelsey at a wedding in New Zealand. We hit it off, and ended up becoming fast and firm friends. She taught me how to ski, gave me advice on how to run my own business and was my biggest cheerleader. But one day, she died unexpectedly from a rare bacterial infection. While it’s been hard not having her with me, her death also made me appreciate every day like it’s my last.
When you find a rare friend who loves you as much as they love themselves, I recommend you treasure and value them. Message them to tell them you appreciate them. Remind them that they are awesome because these kinds of friends are hard to find.
When It Comes To Friendships, I Prefer Quality Over Quantity Any Day
We seem to think that everyone around us has more friends and a better life. But what if what you have is enough?
My friends don’t determine my worth. They enhance my life and make it more colourful. With that in mind, try to be a friend who adds rainbows to a rainy day. If you want good friends, you need to be a good friend first.
All images courtesy of Aisha Preece.