I remember all throughout elementary school I had a core friend group of four. We were best friends and we didn’t really interact with anyone else. I guess you could say we were exclusive. Of course, we would have other friends, but we made it pretty clear that it was us four against the world. The group did change – every year, it was with another group of four, until 7th grade, when I moved to Texas. Soon enough though, I formed new friendships that I thought would last a lifetime. Now, I am completely lost in my Junior year after quitting band and having three of my best friends move schools.

You’d think I would’ve easily moved on, I’ve never really had trouble making new friends, but this year was different. Before COVID-19 hit, I bounced around between larger friend groups within my school, and never really found a place where I felt like I belonged. Band was the perfect place for me. I felt accepted for being me. But now, I don’t know if anyone I’m friends with even likes me anymore. Or maybe my mind is just making things up.

High school in America is incredibly socially awkward, which makes everything a thousand times worse.

There’s so much drama, especially when you don’t have the support of a core group. This person hates that person, that person has a crush on this person, you can’t be friends with him because he’s a guy– rumors circulate, and it’s all a bit hard to keep up with.

Recently, I have come to realize just how much I hate the exclusivity of some friendship groups. I guess I’ve never really felt what it’s like to be on the outside – it’s no fun at all. Exclusive friendships leave people out and cause a lot of unnecessary pain. Now I’m the one being left out of my “group,” and it obviously doesn’t feel great. I do think it’s important to have people who really ground you and know everything about you. However, the close-mindedness of some friendships is just too much sometimes.

You can be exclusive and still accept others and be friends with different groups of people.

Sometimes, I like making friends with everyone and having only one specific person in my life who I know will always be there outside of my family. But other times, I miss feeling like I belong to a distinct group. I miss knowing that no one else would interfere with those bonds and relationships we’ve created. I’m being pulled in all these different directions, and I hate it. It all seems kind of trivial. However, I’ve learned a lot from this past year of not having my core group anymore.

I’ve learned that being open-minded is incredibly important. I’ve learned that I should try to be more accepting of others, even if I don’t know them very well. I’ve learned to stop worrying about what others are thinking of me (which is a work in progress). Most of all, I’ve learned that everything is transient – and that friendships and group dynamics change– sometimes they fade away. I’m learning to be okay with that.

  • Srilekha Cherukuvada

    Srilekha Cherukuvada is a passionate writer and designer. Srilekha loves to also edit and participate in marketing strategizing as well as in NGOs and social justice initiatives. She owns a not-for-profit organization, Plannr Consulting, which strives to promote mental health awareness.