How do you measure your self-worth on a social scale? Many people will determine how valuable they are, or others are, by the number of friends they have. Society gives people the misconception that having a lot of friends means you are a truly likable and valuable person. This is, however, only a misconception. I personally believe that there are great benefits to be enjoyed in having only a handful of friends, instead of being part of a big crowd.
Humans are strange creatures. We all want to connect on a closer level and have a person we can bond with, but we are also caught up in society’s idea of how socializing should work in large impersonal groups and crowds. It is something that has always boggled my brain.
I have found in my lifetime that some of the best people I have gotten to know actually have very few friends. In my opinion, these people are less swayed by peer pressure and are their authentic selves – my kind of people. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why fewer friends can be beneficial to you.
If you want to take a closer look at why having a few friends is better than having a large group of friends – just read on.
13 reasons you should ditch the big group of friends for a small handful of friends:
1. You get to focus more time on work or studies.
As we work our way through the phases of life, our friendships change. In my opinion, in high school, friendships are based on our mutual awkwardness towards life. There aren’t many responsibilities for a teen to deal with, and so the friendship has minimal obligations. As we reach college, responsibilities ramp up, but friendships are typically focused on the fun and party lifestyle. That all changes when we reach adulthood, and one would hope that friendships can transition to the different phases together. They rarely do, though.
If you are still hanging out with your large group of college friends in your adulthood years, you might be distracted from your career or your studies. If you manage to whittle down the friendships to just a handful as you go through these phases, you stand a greater chance of developing deep friendships that promote focusing on career prospects and studies instead of distracting from them in the heat of “big group” mentality.
2. Less money wasted on outings and obligations.
Large groups of friends can be suicide for your budget. It’s typical of big groups of friends to plan multiple outings, holidays together, dinners, activities, and more. All of these things cost money. Of course, friends also need to spend money on celebrations – of which there are plenty in life! If you have only a few friends, there’s less opportunity to spend and waste money.
3. Far less group drama to deal with.
If you have only a few friends, there’s “guaranteed” to be less drama. Drama usually arises in a group of friends when there are differing opinions, different personality type clashes, and jealousy. If you have only a small selection of friends and choose them wisely (in that you have similar outlooks and views on life), you can avoid this completely.
4. No in-group fights to navigate.
Something that I remember about being involved in a large group of friends is the multitude of texts and phone calls that would go back and forth along the lines of “did you hear what Cathy said last night” or “can you believe he didn’t tell me that?!” In-group fights were a big motivator for me seeking out to cut back on just how many friends I had. I personally like having friends because it’s a fun and supportive aspect to life. If there’s fighting between group members, it really detracts from the value.
5. Making plans is simpler.
If you only have to call 2 people to make plans for the weekend instead of having to have a group chat with 15 people who all have different ideas and preferences, your weekend plans will become a whole lot easier. It’s frustrating to try to make plans with a large group.
6. You have access to a small group of people who you can really rely on.
As a member of a large group of friends, you probably always have people to meet up with at the bar or club, but just how many of those people will be there for you when your car breaks down, you lose your job, or you go through an unwanted breakup? When you have a small group of only a few friends, you will be closer to each member and are, therefore, guaranteed to always have someone/people to rely on.
7. Your dirty laundry remains your dirty laundry.
One of the most unpleasant things about having a big group of friends is that personal news tends to travel fast. While this might not always be in an attempt to hurt or harm you, it can still be quite rattling to have so many people know your personal business. By having only a few friends, it means that you can confide in people close to you and have absolute peace of mind that your personal business, aka dirty laundry, will be kept yours and yours alone.
8. There’s minimal potential for in-group gossip and deceit.
If you have only a few problems, you put yourself in a better position in terms of deceit and gossip in your friendships. There’s little room for gossip or lies between 2 people like there is in a group of say 10 people.
9. Jealousy and competitiveness are less likely.
When you really get to know someone for who they are, you are less likely to have unhealthy jealousy and competitiveness towards them. Getting to know someone is far easier when you only have a few friends. In a large group of many friends, there is often too much going on to truly understand a person. This can lead to untoward jealousy and competitiveness within the group. Of course, this is unhealthy for all involved.
10. You really get to know your friends instead of having surface friendships.
I don’t know about you, but I find far more value in being friends and close to someone I know and trust. I don’t like surface friendships, although they do have their place. When you only have a few friends, you have the opportunity to really get to know your friends, and can learn to trust and rely on them. If you have many friends, getting to know each one personally (and deeply) is difficult. You might find that you end up with a large group of acquaintances.
11. You won’t be taken for granted.
When you are part of a large group of friends, it is difficult to find your place and be seen of value. In fact, people might take you for granted and you might take others for granted too. When you have only a few friends, you have the time to get to know people and rely on them (and vice versa). In this manner, when there’s only a small group of friends involved, no one really takes each other for granted.
12. Time spent is far more valuable.
I have often found myself in a group scenario in the past and felt that the time spent simply lacked value. The outings can be fun and often ended raucously, but I can’t remember having a really meaningful conversation or walking away from such activities feeling like my life had been enriched. Now that I have only a few friends, I find that my outings are far more valuable. I don’t return home feeling like I wasted valuable hours that I could have been doing something else more productive.
13. You can really open up and share without fear of judgment.
If you are sitting with one or two close friends, chances are that you will feel comfortable to open up and share details of your life without fear of judgment. Put yourself in the same scenario in a group of 10 friends, and suddenly everything changes. Not only will you feel more scared of being judged, but a larger group of people just tends to be more judgemental (because of the many different points of view) than a one-on-one or small group.
Who says having a big group of friends is the way to live? I have always thought about just how nice it will be to spend my twilight years with a handful of close friends who understand who I am, where I have come from, and what my life’s hopes and dreams really are/were in the end. There’s a comfort in knowing that I would have that small, close-knit group of humans shaking pom-poms for my success, and of course, I would be doing the same for a manageable number of people too.
Having a few friends can definitely bring more value to your interactions with other people. Having a large group of friends can definitely be fun. If you are looking for fun in friendships and not depth, perhaps that is the route for you!