It’s pretty much just the rules of feminism that girls form groups. I’m sure everyone knows that one group that is obsessed with each other and the idea of their group. Whether they have some catchy name that is constantly being thrown around in a mocking fashion through the halls of school, or simply have fun girls nights every weekend, friend groups exist in many shapes and forms.

However, this societal norm comes with some stigmas that are hard to erase. The prominence of friend groups we are exposed to in movies and TV shows causes girls to think that if they are not in an exclusive friend group, they have no place. College has taught me how friend groups do not define a person, but are unfortunately inevitable.

As James Madison wrote, a faction is caused by the “existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time.” I think the same applies to friend groups. People come together when they share common ground and similar interests.

Think about the most well known friend groups we have grown to know and love. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha from Sex and the City meet weekly for dinner or just coffee to update each other on something they are all passionate about: sex, and New York City! Now not all friend groups exist to simply share their sexual encounters with each other, but it is these common interests that bring people together.

As I began my freshman year of college surrounded by more people, but specifically more girls than I was ever used to, I was curious to see how these friend groups began to form and what caused them. It immediately became clear that people stick to who they are comfortable with.

Entering unfamiliar territory, surrounded by thousands of faces you have never seen before is incredibly overwhelming. People naturally seek comfort and safety in these moments. I quickly saw that regardless of who people defined as their “group,” there were no limits to who you were allowed to speak to or hang out with. Although groups form, and may be annoying to some (boys, I’m talking to you), they are anything but an exclusive barrier.

Friend groups are like a swimming pool. The shallow end is where you can stand, walk on both feet, and see everything around you. The deep end is more dangerous, but once you enter, you realize how much more space you have to explore.

Similarly, friend groups are like the shallow end because they provide a space of comfort. However, when you take the risk and branch out of your comfort zone, there are an innumerable amount of people willing to help you tread in the deep end.