Why it's OK if you don't belong to a friend group

Picture this: You're scrolling through your Insta feed and you spot a post of that iconic celeb clique. Or you're walking into school on Monday morning when you bump into that super-close squad in the hallway—again. And you can't help but think to yourself, I kind of wish that were me. While it's totally normal to feel that way, we're here to tell you that there's also nothing to worry about if you don't have a huge friend group of your own.

Sure, you might feel like you're missing out if you aren't part of a group chat with *tons* of people or you don't have a go-to crew to hang out with every weekend. But whether you're in between cliques, have a few close pals but aren't really part of a big group or are trying to start fresh and make some new friends, just know that it's OK if you don't belong to a friend group—and here's why.

There are *so* many places to find your people

Not being tied to a certain friend group gives you even more opportunities to meet new people—possibly even in some unexpected places. Whether it's the girl who sits in front of you in math class, your new soccer teammate or someone you met through your after-school job at the local coffee shop, you're faced with so many chances to expand your circle. Maybe you'll score a friend who shares your interests or find a bestie who brings something totally different to the table. The possibilities are endless!

Plus, even you don't find long-term friendship with one specific person, they might end up introducing you to your next BFF along the way, so remember to keep an open mind.

Quality over quantity 

We know it sounds cheesy, but take it from us: quality over quantity, always. It's def possible to be part of a huge group of friends and feel equally close to all of them. But on the other hand, sometimes a smaller number of friendships can give you the ability to make stronger connections with those particular people and really get to know the ones you feel like you click with. And at the end of the day, it's most important to have a few close friends who truly get you and love you for who you are, rather than a bigger group that you might feel less in sync with overall.

What you see on social media might not be the reality

Social media can make it seem like *everyone* is always doing something super cool or hanging out with a million friends—even when things might be less than perfect behind the scenes. Let's say you find yourself chilling at home on a Saturday night and feeling major FOMO. It's easier said than done, but don't let it stress you out. Social media can paint an unrealistic picture of friendships, causing you to compare your real-life situation to someone else's curated one. If you find yourself stuck in that loop, it's OK to set the screens aside sometimes. 

You'll learn more about yourself outside of your relationships

Ofc, it can feel extra difficult to be in that weird limbo between wanting to broaden your friendship horizons and being hesitant to put yourself out there or reach out to potential pals. When you're part of a close-knit clique, you might be more secure in your identity—after all, you know *exactly* where you fit in, and you always have those friends to fall back on.

At the same time, that can make it tougher to develop a strong sense of self outside of who you hang out with. Would you rather join the school yearbook staff over the literary magazine because you want to or because all your friends are way more into photography than poetry? Are you watching that TV show because you like it or because you'll be totally lost at the lunch table after the latest episode comes out?

Without that group, you'll get to learn more about who Y-O-U are—your likes, your dislikes and everything that makes you unique. Then, when it's time to make new friends, you know you'll be approaching them as your most authentic self. 

Need more friendship advice? We've got you covered:
💖 6 red flags to look out for in a friend
💖 How to make friends with similar interests as you
💖 4 ways to stay connected with your friends at different colleges
💖 Here's how to be a better friend

Tell us how you make new friends on Twitter @girlslifemag!

Slider image: @ana.stowell
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by Samara Smukler | 3/9/2023