Growing up, I had a lot of different experiences in different friend groups. I bounced around from being "popular" to less popular several times. From these experiences, I learned a lot about friendship, love, people and life in general.
1. The Difference Between Temporary and Forever Friendships
From being both on the inside and outside, I am able to recognize each type of friendship as what it truly is. Temporary friendships just feel less than whole. When I have been around these temporary friends, I don't usually feel like my true self, and I'm almost scared to be who I really am. Forever friends make you feel comfortable when you let your guard down, they appreciate your quirks, and they love you for who you truly are. Temporary friends don't take the time to learn the little things about you, but forever friends make sure they know your favorite colors, favorite candy and movie, they know what causes you stress and pain, and they know how to cheer you up when you're down. Forever friends are always there when you need them, but temporary friends are only there if it is convenient for them. Temporary friendships can turn into forever friendships, but it takes plenty of effort from both people!
2. Quality over Quantity
I think this is one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn in their lives. I have learned from being both an insider and an outsider that having bunches of friends is not as valuable or fulfilling as having a few really great friends. This doesn't mean that having bunches of friends is bad by any means; rather, having friends that are really good to you is more important than having friends that treat you less than you deserve. At one point in my life, I had heaps of friends that I never actually felt close to, and that didn't really try to get to know me as a person. At this time, I had one person who truly tried to understand me and love me for who I was, and that bond was so much more meaningful than the rest that I had. Now, I have a handful of truly wonderful friends that I hold very near and dear to my heart.
3. More is Not Less and Less is Not More
Having lots of friends is never a bad thing! As I said before, having friends that are good to you is what's most important. When I had heaps of friends that were not of good quality and only one good friend, I wished I had more close friendships and more people to experience life with. During the majority of my high school years, I only had three friends and I was perfectly happy with that. In no way did I feel like I needed more or less people in my life. Now, I have lots of really great friends and I feel very close to all of them. The amount of friends you have is not what matters. What counts is how you feel and whether you are happy with your situation.
4. Generalizations Tend to be Inaccurate
Having been in the in-crowd as well as the outside, I experienced many different groups of people. Growing up, lots of people are taught that the popular kids are always glamorous and mean, and the less popular kids, or the outsiders, are grungy, dumb, etc.. When I was young, I saw these generalizations and stereotypes in the media and was taught by some adults that these were true. Being on the in-crowd with the "popular" people, I learned that most kids aren't glamorous and being popular doesn't automatically make you a terrible person. In these groups, I have met some of the kindest, most genuine people I know. Being on the outside, I found that "less popular" kids are often just kind of shy, or they don't want to be in the in-crowd. These kids were rarely "dumb" or "grungy," they were very intelligent and kind-hearted. To this day, I have some truly wonderful friends that I found from both the inside and the outside.
5. There Really Isn't Even an In-Crowd and an Outside Crowd
Okay, okay, okay. I don't know what people are going to say about this. Either "yes, there totally is" or "that's what I've been thinking this whole stinkin' time!" What I learned from being friends with all different groups of people was that there isn't even an "in-crowd" or an "outside crowd." Instead, there are just groups of people. Some groups are bigger than others, and maybe that's where these labels have come from. Groups of people are formed when people find others that they relate to, have similar interests with, and simply enjoy.
Life is tough, and friends truly make it easier. Whether you have one hundred friends or just one, a "popular" friend group or a "less popular" one, a temporary friend or a forever one, cherish your time with each and every friend that you may have, because connection is the most important thing. Tell your friends that you love them today!