About 10 years ago I called my mom crying and through my tears telling her how I had no friends.
At the time I was in second year university, living in a house of 9 girls. Many of the girls were friends before I had met them, or were still really close with their friends from home. So, on this particular afternoon, when pretty much everyone was hanging out with someone other than me, I sat crying in my room and called my ultimate best friend, someone who I knew would pick up their phone–my mother.
Through my wails of “I have no friends!!” my mom told me to come home and stay at their place for a couple of nights. I told her I couldn’t because “I’m going out to lunch tomorrow with a friend.”
My mom told me to listen to what I was saying and to go find these friends and sit with them instead of sitting alone in my room, so I did, and my wave of loneliness disappeared.
Over the years, I’ve felt like I didn’t have enough friends. All my friends had much bigger social groups than I did, and they were always meeting up with people after work and going out.
What is enough friends? This question has plagued me for years, so I decided to talk to a friend about it. I told her how I feel like everyone I know has such a large social group, but I have maybe 5-8 friends at any given time (including my husband!). Even though it sounded so juvenile when I said it, I told her that I felt that I just wasn’t “cool”.
What she explained to me next hit me in a profound way, and I continually refer to it when I am feeling lonely:
She told me that everyone has different needs in life, and that maybe my needs were fulfilled by the small number of friends that I have. Not everyone needs a large social group. Sometimes the relationships you have created with just a few people run deep enough that those people are the only friends you need.
She asked me if I actually wanted to go out more often. The truth was, I didn’t. I just felt that if everyone else was I should be too.
Now, I’ve stopped measuring my friendships by the quantity. Instead, on the days I am feeling a twinge of loneliness, I consider the deep and lasting friendships I do have with a few people, and I feel infinitely fulfilled.