I’ve been breaking out of my shell and expanding my social circle. And if I’m being honest, it’s kind of intoxicating…..
To understand why this is a big deal, you should know that I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house, the same city, and the same school district my whole childhood. Because of this, I managed to hold onto a lot of the same friends over the years.
However, somewhere down the line, I became pretty comfortable.
Has this ever happened to you? Where you become so comfortable with your current set up that you close yourself off to new friends, and ultimately, new experiences?
I thought I had all the friends I needed, and I wasn’t looking for anything new because I thought I was set.
But people change….. I changed, and before I knew it, I really only socialized with a handful of people anymore.
Many introverts, like myself, struggle with how many friends are considered the “right amount”? And I can’t tell you how many times I wondered if something was wrong with me…. was there something wrong with having a very small, close-knit group of friends?
Well, the answer lies somewhere in between letting go of the relationships that no longer serve you, and becoming open to meeting new people again…
KEEPING A TIGHT CIRCLE IS SORT OF LIKE WALKING A FINE LINE
Keeping your circle tight is supposed to mean that when it comes to friendships, it should be quality over quantity. And I totally agree!
But who’s to put a limit on how many quality people there are out in the world to have meaningful relationships with? A “tight” circle gives off the impression that you can only have a handful of good friends, and you’ve got to be wary of any newcomers.
However, it’s entirely possible to use solid judgement, all while remaining open to the idea that there might be some pretty awesome people out there that you haven’t even met yet!
The idea that your circle is perfect ‘as is’, can lead to some hermit-like behavior without even realizing it.
Also, when we constantly surround ourselves with the same type of people all the time, we run the risk of never allowing ourselves to grow.
So, I encourage you to adopt an open-ended friendship policy. Pretend like it’s elementary school again, and you’re just coming off summer break. Be excited to get to meet new people again!
REACH OUT TO THE PEOPLE YOU’RE DRAWN TO
Well, those people are absolute gold.
Oftentimes we can become so comfortable in our friend group, that we conform to the type of person that our friend’s expect of us.
We take on these roles.. “the responsible one”, “the quiet one”, “the cautious one” etc…
But when you hang out with someone new, you can be whoever you want to be! You no longer have to act a certain way in order to maintain the status quo.
So let your hair down more often, expand your horizons, and reach out to that person who you don’t get to see as much as you’d like (and maybe change that)!
YOU CAN FIND THE ANSWERS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IN NEW RELATIONSHIPS
And friendships can either help you through the hard times, or keep you chained down to the person that you no longer want to be.
So step 1 is to let go of the friendships that no longer make you happy. Life is too short to be surrounded by people who don’t make us feel our best. Period. End of story.
When I figured out the first step, I walked away from those who desperately wanted me to be someone that I no longer wanted to be. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but I am much happier now because of it.
I still held onto a couple of really amazing friends, but I wondered if maybe that was it for me?
Maybe my circle was just really, really tight?
It wasn’t until I started to branch out and meet some new people, when it started to click. Maybe there is another chapter for me? And maybe I can still create some really amazing friendships, even without the comfort of knowing someone for years and years.
In fact, it started to feel really good to surround myself with people who just got me. Or at the very least, allowed me to be whoever I wanted. No agenda, no strings attached. There’s no better feeling than that, the feeling of being understood and accepted.
The question I had previously had… is there something wrong with me? …..was answered.
The only thing that was wrong was that I wasn’t open to the idea that there were new people out there. People who were on the same page as I was. Who would let me be me, probably because they were comfortable and happy to be themselves too!
If you’re ever feeling misunderstood, know that there will ALWAYS be others out there on the same page as you.
I believe we all have a purpose, and we all have a story to tell. We only become better when we share our stories with others.
So I encourage you to meet someone with a different story than you, and maybe you’ll discover that have more in common than you think!
With love Always,