Everyone knows the stereotype of having a tight knit group of friends in college, they’re the people in a 10+ person group chat that’s constantly blowing up and the ones that spend Every. Single. Night. hanging out together. They’re inseparable to those looking in from the outside. You see them all together in Instagram posts and Snapchat stories, and if you’re anything like me, you might realize that you aren’t a part of a group like that. You have friends, you enjoy talking to them and being around them, but you don’t have a “BFF group.” And this is your sign that it’s OK (even though it can be hard to come to terms with).
Having good friends and not having them all be close friends with one another is normal, even if it isn’t romanticized like big friend groups are. Sometimes you have friends from your hometown that you hang out with, friends from a club that you’re friends with, and friends that you know from a class. I would consider myself one of those people, and I call it being a “floater” (yes, I gave it a name because as I’ve come to find out, a lot more people experience this than you would think).
As a floater, you might have three or four really good friends that are all part of separate friend groups. These friend groups probably don’t overlap a lot, if they overlap at all. You can hang out with their friend groups and fit in fine for a night but you’re not in the group. You get along with everyone, you can laugh and talk, but you’re not the first one they call, if you’re even called at all.
This can be hard to cope with, especially if you feel like you’re surrounded by a bunch of others who have different relationships with their friends than you do. What it ultimately comes down to is not about how many friends you have, but the quality of the friends you have and the way they impact your life. It’s a hard pill to swallow, because you’ve probably heard “quality over quantity” a million times before and it might not make you feel any better.
For some, realizing that this saying is true might not happen right away, I know that it didn’t for me. For most of my teen years, I struggled with understanding why I wasn’t always included or why I was a second-thought. It took years and many, many tears, to come to something that I would consider an understanding with this. My attachment style with others differs from those that are constantly surrounded by “close friends.” Some people are always going to be closer than others. There will always be people that are able to form “closer” relationships. And all this is dependent on their personalities and their communication and love languages.
Ultimately, I realized that it wasn’t worth my time and energy to force close friendships when they weren’t there naturally. It can feel isolating, because from the outside, it seems like everyone is on the inside except for you, but just because people look like they are the best of friends all the time, doesn’t mean that they actually are. Truthfully, more people than you may think are in the exact same boat as you.
When you realize this, it’s important to take the time to focus on yourself and reflect on what kind of relationships truly bring positivity into your life. See who is bringing happiness and positivity to your life, who checks in on you and reaches out, and then focus on dedicating your energy to those people. Investing yourself into these relationships will be much more fulfilling than surrounding yourself with just anyone so that you can claim that you’re a part of a group.
You might not have a best friend right now, but it doesn’t mean you will never find one! Some of the best people in life come to you when you’re least expecting it. Don’t give up hope on building close relationships, just realize that they aren’t going to form with everyone.
And lastly, just because you aren’t giving someone the energy and dedication that you would give a best friend, doesn’t mean you have to completely cut them out of the equation. It also doesn’t mean that you have to treat them poorly. Be friendly and be kind to those around you, regardless if you consider them to be one of your close friends or not. You can still enjoy the presence of other people and other friends, even if they aren’t your best friends.
Need a friend? Or just someone to talk about being a floater with? Feel free to reach out to me on IG: @carrherbert and we can be internet friends!