The worst kind of loneliness doesn’t come from actually being alone. It comes from being surrounded by people you don’t vibe with.
If your friends are belittling your successes, downplaying your values, and encouraging you to do things that aren’t good for you, are they really your friends? Or are they people you just happen to know and spend time with?
If they discourage you from following your passion, if they shame you for what you care about, if they don’t listen when you talk about what’s important to you, then it’s definitely time to find a different They.
Don’t get me wrong, replacing your They, your tribe, isn’t easy. Sometimes it means being on your own for a while. And being alone is scary.
We’re both hardwired and socially conditioned to seek out the “cool kids” to be around. We want to be accepted and to fit in. We crave the status that comes from being in a group that others want to be in. But what good is social status when you’re trading away pieces of your soul to have it?
If you feel like you can’t be who you truly are around the people you spend your time with, that isn’t cool. If you’re changing your behavior to gain or keep acceptance from your “friends,” that isn’t cool either. It’s probably time to leave those people behind and find different ones.
Breakups are always tough, even with friends, even when you’re the one doing the leaving. The world is vast, and it can feel impossible sometimes to find people who truly get you. You don’t want to be unhappy and alone.
But you’re already unhappy and, in the ways that matter most, alone. Happiness is a deeply internal state of being. It cannot come from the outside in.
The fear of rejection is powerful. It can keep you in unhealthy relationships.
Perhaps you’re waiting for that fear to subside before you take a step away. But here’s a secret: sometimes the fear doesn’t go away. There’s strength doing a thing that scares you. After all, it isn’t bravery if you aren’t afraid.
And at the end of the day, you are the only person you have to put up with. If you prioritize becoming comfortable with yourself, you will find yourself gradually accumulating the kind of They that bolsters you when you need support and challenges you to improve yourself and your actions.
Friendship Means More Than Tolerance
“Friend” means a heck of a lot more than “someone who wants to party with you or hang out all day.”