I mostly have been a person to stick with a close set of friends valuing quality over quantity of friendships. When I find someone that I really like to spend time with and talk to, I really hone in a lot of what makes them unique and yet I am able to see their weaknesses.
I had a friend from 3rd grade till 7th grade that was my sole friend. I didn’t see any need to make more friends; she was all I needed for socialization. I did everything with her and I really put a lot of value on our friendship. We were two peas in a pod.
It was great, but over the years as we got older I realized more and more that while she was a great friend she also was discouraging to me and almost held me back from being my best self. I noticed weaknesses in her that I hated over time.
In about the 6th grade, we started to really like the boys…. We would talk about the different men we liked and about our classmates. What I found was that I was actually very brave and curious about everyone while she was shy and talked as though she was afraid of everyone and everything. I was still her friend, but I would suggest we sit with other people at lunch or maybe we could do something that was kind of crazy but could be fun! She resisted. She didn’t want to do anything out of fear for what people would think and she didn’t want to eat lunch with anyone else.
Eventually, I started to feel trapped being her friend even though I clearly could have just went and did the things alone without her. One day it all came to an end, but by my actions. I told her that I was going to eat lunch with my friend I was making in my band class and she was free to come, but I wasn’t going to sit with her anymore and maybe even be her friend. I told her what I thought about her, and she was upset.
We grew apart and I made new friends. Of course, I noticed the same things with my new friends. They were fearful of others and never were curious about other people who they had their negative views of. I wanted to talk to everyone and get to know everyone. I soon felt different and as though my thoughts weren’t appropriate because nobody seemed to be like me.
I showed my bravery and curiosity in other ways though. Sports was one. In sports, I was able to play with multiple of people instead of sticking to the group of friends I was around all of the time. I talked to anyone when I would talk, but I didn’t talk too much in high school. Band was also my outlet. There were in my opinion no social norms in band, I could talk with everyone there about band because we shared that interest. So, I did. I tried to not be distant from anyone in band and I was most myself there than any other place.
Therefore, I found from this experience that I need to feel free and allow my bravery and curiosity to show. I also learned that the environment and again people I’m around has an influence on how I allow myself to be. I find that I cannot be around closed-minded people for too long, otherwise, it internally bothers me or I begin to inhibit their characteristics instead of acting as my true self.