Accepting What You Understand

Accepting What You Understand

Learning to see yourself in a new and more positive light
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For as long as I can remember, I have wished to be less shy. Ever since I was a little girl, I would give myself pep talks, reminding myself to talk more, be more friendly and be less afraid of making the wrong impression. Almost every time, I would go to whatever social setting- a birthday party, school, summer camp, and I would try super hard for about three seconds, and then I would slip back into my old, reserved self. I would often be frustrated with myself and could not imagine why it was so difficult for me to put myself out there more. It was not that I was bad at making friends or in any way out of place in my social situations, it was just that I needed more time.

Unlike some people around me or kids on TV, I took time to warm up to people. I would make friends eventually, and open up around people, but it just took more than one encounter. Despite understanding that was how I was, I still tried to change. That is until a friend from high school pointed out that maybe what I had always counted as a flaw was actually a good thing.

We were talking one night about how much our lives had changed between freshman and senior year. We discussed the new people we had met and the different relationships we had formed. Now this friend was someone that I had always admired for her friendliness and openness, she is the type of person who makes friend with people immediately. But as we recounted her experiences she said to me, I feel like I became friends with a lot of people in the beginning, but you made more friendships that last, She proceeded to tell me that that was something she admired about me: the fact that I always held back a little before letting people in, that I wasn't so out there right away.

I was shocked to hear that she admired a part of me that I so wanted to change. More than that, I could not believe that she actually had a valid reason to do so. I started thinking that she was right, maybe she had more fun at the beginning of things, but rushed relationships could often be superficial or not a good match. I realized that being shy protected me from that because it gave me a chance to listen and observe and find people who I truly felt comfortable around.

Seeing myself from this new perspective truly changes my life, as it got me to stop trying to change myself. Knowing that a part of my personality that I used to see as a drawback, could actually be used for my own good, got me to love and accept myself more. I recognized that the reason I had tried so hard to be openly extroverted and outgoing was because I wanted to make sure I had great friends. I realized that all along that was never what I needed; I just needed to learn to understand why I am the way I am and love myself for that.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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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.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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How To Cope With A Best Friend Breakup


Breaking up with a boyfriend is one thing, but breaking up with your best friend is a whole new level of heartbreak.

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We all know breakups can be tough, but when that breakup happens to be between you and your best friend, things reach a new level of heartbreak. I met my best friend junior year of high school after our Spanish teacher randomly assigned us to be partners; we struggled so much in that class but in the end, we truly became inseparable. When senior year rolled around we were still close as ever; people would often joke that we were sisters because we looked and acted so much alike. We would go on little dates together, go to parties together, and were always the first person we called when something "major happened."

When my best friend's boyfriend of four years cheated on her while we were spring breaking in Europe, it became my duty to make her feel better; I would randomly drop off flowers and little notes to her house, spend countless hours just listening to her cry and vent, and even stopped talking to people associated with her boyfriend so as to show my "support." All of these things were no big deal to me considering I loved this girl like a sister; whatever she needed I was there to give that to her.

Things soon took a sharp turn when we entered not only the same college but the same sorority. While I was struggling with the social aspect of FSU, my best friend soon found new best friends. When I started having major issues with my boyfriend, I would automatically text/call my best friend as she did with me, but instead of support, I got the sense that she was passive and uninterested. Our little dates and goofy inside jokes disappeared and reappeared between her and her new friends, and my comfortableness around her soon turned into insecurity.

Coming to terms with the fact that the girl I knew everything about is now basically a stranger was a hard one to overcome; I didn't want to accept the fact that my best friend decided it was time to find new ones. It's heartbreaking knowing that the special things you shared with a person are now being shared with others, and it's hard to accept the fact that you aren't wanted or needed by the one person you thought would be by your side forever.

Since school has ended I think I have accepted the fact that we're no longer what we used to be. Of course, it still stings when I see social media posts with her new, college friends, but I just have to remind myself that this is part of life and I just have to move on. I will forever cherish the memories I made with her, but it's time to acknowledge that they were made with someone in my past, not with someone in my present.

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