In high school, I felt pressured to have a ton of friends.
If you weren’t part of the “popular group,” then you never had a lot of friends. At least, this was true for the school I was at. I never had “best friends” or even one “best friend” in high school. That all changed once I got to college.
In a world where we use social media as a scale to measure the quality of our lives, being the girl who has never had a myriad of friends wasn’t always fun. But I’ve come to find that you don’t need a ton of friends, you just need a couple good quality ones.
Before you disagree with me, let me explain. Remember all the cliques in high school? It’s where the mean girls of the world were (and still are) constructed.
Girls would form their “popular” groups and decide who was in and who was out. You all remember these groups, right? They dressed the same. They only hung out with each other. When one girl disliked a person, they all disliked the person. They wouldn’t dare date each others’ boyfriends. They wouldn’t dare hang out with anyone else outside of their group. These girls were a locked unit.
I was never one of those girls. I switched high schools after my freshman year because yes, girls were mean to me. But this isn’t a sob story for you to feel bad for me because I was bullied in high school.
It’s not a story for me to talk down on the girls who treated me so terribly. It’s a story about how a girl like me found a friend of a lifetime, and how I wouldn’t trade the experiences that led me to her for the world.
I ran around with a few girls my junior and senior year of high school. They were the friends I would only see at football games or in class , but they were weird like me. By weird, I mean they weren’t afraid to be themselves. There were no barriers to entry for our tiny group besides being your authentic self — something I have always tried to achieve.
After high school, I went to college in the same city I grew up in. I made some new friends, but the school was so small it felt like a glorified high school. The same girls from the high school I attended stayed friends in their exact same groups, and most of them joined the same sorority.
I considered joining a sorority. After a few weeks in, I realized being in a sorority was just a fancy of way of paying money to have a huge group of friends. (Being in a sorority just wasn’t for me, but I’m well aware that for some people it is their most cherished part from college .)
All the girls were the same. They lacked the individuality and quirky characteristics I needed in a friend. I felt like I was in high school all over again. But this time it was bigger and honestly much worse.
In the spring of my freshman year of college, I headed up to Indiana University with some friends for Little 5 weekend. If you aren’t from the Midwest and have never heard of Little 5, in lamest terms, it’s a bunch of fraternities racing each other on bikes.
Most of the time, no one ever makes it to the race. The day usually starts around 5 or 6 a.m. with booze for breakfast, booze for lunch, and oh yeah, booze for dinner too. At one point during the weekend, I went to meet up with a girl from my school. She had some random girl with her that I had heard of but didn’t know super well.
We were slinging back shots like water for most of the day. The night sky eventually rolled over us and I was more drunk than I had ever been in my entire life. I was lost at a fraternity (every girl’s worst nightmare) and called Payton, the girl I had met earlier in the day.
I was crying and asked her to come get me. She picked me up and let me spend the night with her. We’ve been best friends ever since.
She is the longest friend I have ever had and the only “best friend” I will ever need. In between then and now, we’ve definitely had some fights. And not just verbal fights, but physical ones too.
On spring break my sophomore year of college, a group of us went to Ft. Lauderdale. I basically fought my best friend because I blamed her for my boyfriend yelling at screaming at me over the phone. He was being an absolute jerk, and she finally had enough and took charge of the phone call. She was just looking out for me. Still, I couldn’t see it that way at the time.
We don’t need to go into detail, but it ended in me running across the room to attack her, a lot of tears, and an awkward end to our spring break. We didn’t talk for about six months until I finally came around and apologized for my behavior. Since then, we’ve had break ups, we’ve moved cities, cried, laughed and had countless sleepovers.
I don’t need a lot of friends. I just need one really good one.
I do have more than one friend. I’ve been lucky enough to meet two really great girls in the last two years who have been absolute blessings in my life. But I have one REALLY good friend. We couldn’t be more different even if we tried. We have contrasting goals and we live diverse lives. But when I need to come over and have someone make me dinner and breakfast, she’s there.
When I need time to talk about everything going on in my life without being judged or being told I’m wrong, she’s there to make me coffee and take me on walks in our pajamas.
When I need someone to remind me who I am when I forget, she’s there to remind me of everything I have to offer to the world. When I’m being a shitty friend and neglecting my relationships, she’s there to tell me to get my head out of my ass.
I don’t need a lot of friends. I just need one really good one.
As we age, we still live in a world of mean girls. We live in a world where we feel like we have to be a friend to everyone. We live in a world where if you want to stay home by yourself or sit on the couch with your best friend and not lose your dignity at the bars, you’re told you need to get out and “live your life while you still can.”
The truth? I’m living my life to the absolute fullest with my small group of people. These few people all make me the person I am. I am a compilation of these people. They are the reasons why I strive for such a meaningful and purposeful life every single day.
Not everyone deserves you. If you only have one or two friends, you don’t need to go out and make more for the sake of having more friends. Those one, two, or three close friends are all you will ever need.
Love them, cherish them, and never let them go, because good people are hard to find in this world.