I feel like my friend group is really shallow and two-faced. I’ve started to notice it more recently, and I’m even become embarrassed to acknowledge them as my friends in class due to their obnoxious and rude behavior. I’ve been friends with this same group since middle school, and I feel like I may regret it if I break away. How do I break away? Any tips on how to feel confident in my decision?
It is really admirable that you have a strong sense of morals and of yourself, and it is important to stay true to that. High school can be a cesspool of struggle and emotional turmoil, and you’re in the thick of it right now. You’re in a tough situation and you probably don’t see how anything good can come out of your situation, but please remember that you are the one in control of your own happiness, not your friends, or anyone else for that matter.
It’s no secret that peer pressure runs rampant among the halls of high schools throughout the nation. It’s an unfortunate aspect we all must learn to face and often, it is extremely influential in decisions and can be detrimental to the outcome of those decisions. Before you make any sort of choice regarding your friends, make sure you recognize that your happiness is ultimately the choice that you’re making with every one of your decisions, and that no one else can make these types of choices.
It’s perfectly okay to not make a decision for a while. Though as time passes, the stress that comes from the delay of decision-making may affect your life negatively, which is why the decision needs to be addressed now, to address the stress.
A large part of this decision is psychological. For your situation, certainly there are benefits to choosing either side – if you stay with your current friend group you’ll have a solid foundation of peers that you’ve been really close with for a long time, but on the other hand, if you start to distance yourself you won’t have to deal with their obnoxious behaviour and can branch out to new friends and opportunities. But you’re stuck, as the consequences of your decision may seem looming, since you may risk losing friends.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to make a radical decision either way. There is always some middle ground with every decision.
Right now, all you need to do is take your first step toward a decision. There’s no need to rush things, so make sure you take care of yourself and don’t stress too much about this. Take some time for yourself to process things, since you’re going to make a choice regarding your own happiness.
Do you like your current friends for who they are as people? You have already had an instinctual response to that question. Listen to it. You already know if you want to be around these people or not, and it’s perfectly okay to feel either way.
If you don’t want them in your life since they are bad friends for you, then you need to put some distance between them and you. It doesn’t have to be harsh, don’t call them out on their wrongdoings or announce your permanent departure – simply stop hanging out with them all the time and focus your time on people that you truly want to be around. Shop around a bit; try talking to people who like the same activities as you do.
Are there any individuals in that friend group that you feel especially close with? If there are, you can talk to them in a non-judgemental manner and discuss your feelings. You have been close with them for a while, and any true friend would take the time to listen to you and can handle constructive criticism.
It’s not going to be easy or immediate, but you’ll notice that some of the negativity and stress in your life has gone away. That’s how you know you made the right choice. If you instead begin to feel more stressed during this, just wait it out for a few weeks, and if you still feel uncomfortable with your choice you can go back to your friends – they’re not going anywhere.
On the other hand, if your instinctual response was that yes, you truly like these friends as people, you don’t need to distance yourself. Just branch out to other people and focus on talking to people that make you your happiest.
In any case, you don’t have to stop being friends with these people. You can simply reach out to people that you truly do like and start a new chapter of your life from there. Your current friend group will always exist and you can continue to be friends with them if that is meaningful and important for you. Spending time with people that make you happy is what is important, so no matter what that entails you should pursue that. Taking the first step might be difficult, but it is the right thing for you to do You will always find support for these decisions among your true friends, peers, your family and trusted adults and counselors if you seek it out.
You don’t owe anyone anything. I know that you’re embarrassed, and that’s the result of peer pressure, but if you love them, who cares? Finding people that are impactful and amazing to be around is rare, so never let those people go even if they might be looked down upon by others due to the image they exude. You’ll never lose truly good people in your life by pursuing what makes you happy.
Be proud of whatever makes you happy – the people that put a smile on your face and drive you to be your best are never anything to be ashamed of. Also, other people are probably not paying as much attention as you think to your own social life. You may feel that way due to all the labels and generalizing remarks being thrown out left to right, but in reality, people are not out to get you and scrutinize your every move. They’re not against you, they’re simply for themselves and focus almost all of their energy on themselves.
Don’t let popularity of acquaintances make or break your decision to be friends with certain people. Solely base your friendships on how much you click with another person and how you enjoy spending time with them. That certainly is easier said than done, and an ideal that society strives toward, but for now you can try to take steps in that direction.
These people that you’re talking about, you have known them for so long that you really know them at their core. It’s up to you to decide whether these people are a positive influence on you or not, and only you can make that choice.