By Amanda Vining, Regular ContributorOctober 16, 2015
image via veedizy.com
A friend once told me, “You are the kind of person who would be at a party standing at the back of the room talking about sexism while everyone around else is playing party games.” I initially took my friend’s observation of me as an insult, an implication that I’m awkward and can’t fit in amongst my peers. But then I realized that my friend was complimenting me, not insulting me, and that the negative undertones I had assumed from her statement were, in fact, my own insecurities coming to light.
Ever since grade school, I can remember feeling as though I don’t fit in. I feel shy in large groups, out-of-place at parties, and constantly over-analyze the things I say when I’m around my peers, but then I think about my closest friendships and how comfortable I am around my friends. I have a handful of very close friends around whom I am my best self. When I spend time with my friends, it’s usually one-on-one or in a small group setting. We have coffee and indulge in deep conversation, share meals together, and go for runs around the lake.
Each of my friendships is as unique as my friends themselves, and with my own personality thrown into the mix, we have great moments when we spend time one-on-one.
So if I have such wonderful relationships with my close group of friends, why is it that I feel so awkward and shy when in large groups? I thought about this question for weeks this past summer, and I came to realize that it’s because one size does not fit all friendships. Just as one size of jeans does not fit every person, I realized that one style of relationship and social interaction does not fit everyone. I’ve spent most of my life beating myself up over my perceived inability to fit in with my peers, only to realize now, at the age of 25, that I simply have a different style of friendship. And, I am fortunate to have an amazing group of talented, charismatic friends who share my style. Once I realized and accepted this truth, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
My style of friendship is quieter than most. I prefer to watch a CSI marathon with one or two friends than go out to the movie theater with five other people. I prefer having coffee on a Friday night than going to a party. And you know what? My style is perfectly okay.
There is nothing wrong with my style of friendship, and there certainly isn’t anything about it that should make me feel insecure.
I may not be comfortable going downtown on the weekends or hanging out in large groups, but that is A-OK. Whether you have lots of friends or a few close friends, you prefer hanging out in groups or one-on-one, you’d rather go out or stay in, one size does not fit all friendships. Find the style that fits you and own it!
What type of friendship style do you have? How do you like to spend your time with friends? Tell us below!
Amanda lives in Austin, Texas, where she strives every day to be as BRAVE and BeautyFULL as she can be. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a self-designed degree in Children’s Rights, and Duke University with a certificate in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time, Amanda can be found scouring Pinterest for her latest craft project, drinking coconut mochas in her favorite coffee shop, and creating content for the sexual violence prevention organization and blog, Talk About Rape (www.talkaboutrape.com.)
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