Some people will change friend groups every few years. It’s common to think that your school friends will be with you for the rest of your life. In some instances, this is the case. There are plenty of people who grow up with the same friends from a very young age. But, the chances are you’ll move through lots of different friend groups as you get older, move around more, and meet new people.
With that in mind, let’s talk about a topic that you might find a bit sensitive. Well, maybe that’s not the right word, but it’s a topic people don’t like discussing. As you can tell from the title, we’re looking at whether or not you should find some new friends. How do you know if you have good friends who are worth sticking with, or if you need to meet different people and be part of a new friendship group?
It’s a tough decision for some, but an easy one for others. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re a bit on the fence. Perhaps you’ve taken some time to think about your friends during quarantine and wondered if they’re good for you or not? In this guide, you’ll see a few key points that should help you figure out if you should stick or twist.
Do You Have A Good Friend Group Or Is It Time To Make New Friends?
Do you enjoy hanging out with your friends?
We’ll start with an obvious question; do you even like hanging out with your friends? This might seem absurd to some of you – why would you hang out with people if you don’t enjoy their company?! However, lots of people are stuck in friendship groups despite not having any fun with their friends. Typically, everyone else in the group laughs and shares the same humor, but you’re left with a straight face. It becomes a chore when you think of meeting up, and you seek out any excuse to get out of it.
How do you end up in a situation like this? Well, it comes when you’re friends with someone for a long time. Perhaps you went to school with these people, and you’re stuck in a friendship group. Plus, they enjoy spending time with you, making it super awkward and hard to getaway. It can seem selfish, but if you don’t have fun with your friends, there’s no point sticking around. You don’t have to tell them you don’t like them, but slowly distance yourself from the group. Come up with excuses to be busy when they get together, and perhaps start going out with other people that make you feel happier.
Ultimately, it’s like someone having a crush on you but you don’t like them back. Would you lead them on just to save their feelings? You wouldn’t, so don’t do the same to your friendship group.
Can you be yourself around your friends?
For me, this is one of the key things that determines if you need new friends or not. If you can’t be yourself around your friends, you’re constantly living a lie. You’re acting out of character and doing things you wouldn’t normally do. The problem is that it’s very easy to get caught up in the swing of things when you’re hanging out with your friends. The way they act encourages you to follow suit. It’s only when you get home and look back at what you did that you realize that wasn’t who you are at all!
This is a very interesting point as lots of you have probably never tried to be yourself. Maybe you became friends with a group of people and just adapted to suit their personalities. As time went on, you felt like you couldn’t be yourself because you’ve been this other person the whole time. So, before you decide to cut off a friendship, try being yourself! See how they react to the real you. If they don’t bat an eyelid and you still have fun together, that’s amazing. You can be yourself and still hang out with your friendship group.
Obviously, if they don’t accept the real you or try to peer pressure you into doing things out of your comfort zone, that’s a red flag. For me, you should never feel uncomfortable around friends. If you can’t be yourself, find friends that let you be who you really are.
Do your friends have a positive impact on your life?
Have you ever stopped to think about how your friends impact your life? One of the best ways to consider this is to think of things like gratitude journal prompts. If you’ve ever had a gratitude journal, you’ll know they give you prompts like ‘what are you thankful for today?’ or ‘name five people in your life that you’re glad are in it’. Stuff like this is great for realizing where your friends stand in terms of their impact on your life. Do you constantly feel thankful for your friends? Are you always thinking about them and constantly recalling all that they do for you? If so, they’ve clearly had a positive impact in some way. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be the first people you think about when reviewing what you’re thankful for.
Similarly, consider how you feel when your friends aren’t around. Quarantine is a great time to review this! Do you feel like your life is worse without seeing your friends as often as you like? If it’s better, that tells a big story about the impact they have! Clearly, they can’t have a positive impact if you enjoy spending time away from them.
Ultimately, you have to think about whether or not your life is better with your friends. Do they provide helpful advice to guide you in making big decisions? Are they the first people to reach out to you when you’re feeling down? If you look back at your friendship and feel like your life has been negatively impacted by your friends, it’s probably time to get some new ones.
Do you agree with their views of the world?
I’m not saying that you have to be friends with people who hold the same opinions as you. In fact, it can be beneficial to have friends with different views. When everyone in your friend group thinks the same, you end up in an echo chamber. Differing views help you see other points of view and can make you grow as a person.
The issue is when your friends have very extreme or hurtful views. Perhaps they always make racist remarks or they’re constantly homophobic? If their views are like this, you might not want to be friends with them. It’s horrible hanging around with people who say bad things and have a warped view of society. There’s a difference between someone having quite conservative views and another person being more liberal, than someone being openly racist and sexist. If you find yourself sitting in silence and awkwardly listening to their outrageous views, it could be time to leave.
Things get worse if all your friends share these views and you’re the odd one out. If you don’t extract yourself from the situation, there’s a danger you fall into the trap of gaining the same views. Certainly, many people have done this to avoid being left out and having no friends. Well, you can always find and make new friends, so don’t put up with harmful views to fit in.
Are you always left out?
Do your friends often go out and ‘forget’ to invite you? Do they then talk about the things they did together without even acknowledging that you weren’t invited? Have they got a Whatsapp group that you’re not part of? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, your friends aren’t good friends. They leave you out, don’t invite you to places, and generally make it feel like you’re unwanted.
Remember the very first point about enjoying being around your friends? I mentioned how you might not like being around them, but they like you. Sadly, in this scenario, they don’t reciprocate your feelings towards them. You may love hanging out with them, but they don’t see as a key part of the friendship group. Sure, you get invited to parties and big events, but they really stay in touch outside of these gatherings.
If this is the case, you have nothing to gain from hanging around with these people. They’re not willing to make the effort with you – and you’re excluded from a lot of things – so why bother? You’re better off finding friends who will actually care about you.
In conclusion, there are many times where you should make new friends instead of sticking with your current ones. It comes down to how you feel about the situation. If you’re not happy when you’re with your friends or can’t be yourself, don’t bother sticking around. One of the worst things you can do is trap yourself in a friendship group full of people who don’t care about you or who bring out the worst in you. Don’t be afraid to find new friends, there are lots of great people out there!