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Little things remind me all the time.
For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"
It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?
I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.
Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.
I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.
I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.
Imagine coming home after a longs days work to discover your door unlocked. This alone doesn't cause for immediate panic because often it's hard to remember if you even locked it that morning. As you warily enter the house, you are relieved to see your TV is still on the wall, and the computer is still sitting on your desk. When you take another step in, however, you start to feel this uneasy feeling, like someone had been in your house while you were gone.
You notice a smell of cleaning products in the air that you don't remember being there that morning, and to your shock, you see the bedroom door you always leave open, closed. Now is the time to panic. You search the house, calling out for the perpetrator to show themselves. Your children's rooms are immaculate: vacuumed, with clothes folded and beds made, and toilets scrubbed.
Someone has definitely been in your home for hours, pillaging through your intimate belongings, only they hadn't taken anything. The only thing they leave behind is eerie toilet paper origami roses, a staple of the US prison system.
Nate Roman's Facebook
Although this sounds like a funny sketch from a comedy show, this actually happened to Massachusetts man Nate Roman this May. Roman says in an interview with New York Post: "Growing up in the age we do, my first thought was a serial killer. My next thought was wondering if my son was safe, worrying if someone was still in the house."
Despite the ridiculousness of the crime, it is still a crime. The act of intruding upon someones home not to steal, but to acquaint oneself with the environment is almost creepier than a robbery. Just the thought of someone possibly getting off by touching your objects and lounging in your furniture is extremely off-putting.
The motive of this cleaning criminal is still unknown and he or she is at large. It's speculated it may have been a mistaken house tidied by a cleaning crew--but that seems less likely than a creep having a go in a home with an unlocked door.
Don't forget to lock your doors at night and when you leave in the morning and watch out for toilet paper roses.