You Can’t Be a Good Friend if you have too many Friends
Friendship alert! It’s time to let your inner-tween know — you can have too many friends and it might be time to thin the herd a little.
We know you would have given anything to have been popular in middle-school but now that you’re an adult, you may not have what it takes to be a good friend to all of the hundreds of friends you have.
Having more friends than you can handle may be making you a shitty friend.
Once you make a friend, you’ll still need the energy to keep that friendship going and this takes more effort than you may think.
The more friends you have; the less you have to give them, and it’s more likely that they’ll end up getting a watered-down version of you.
Trust me, no one wants sloppy-seconds from their friends.
I understand the temptation in wanting a ton of friends even in adulthood. I dreamed of popularity too when I was young, so I get the desire to be popular at any age.
When I was 12 years old, I figured if I had tons of friends, life would be perfect. I’d always have people to hang out with, I’d be accepted and loved wherever I went, and I’d have a type of fame where people I didn’t even know, would still know me. I’d be high-school famous.
I was also convinced that there were secret benefits to being popular that only they knew about.
I wasn’t a loner or friendless. I just wasn’t cool, or confident. I had a group of close friends and some not-as-close but still countable as friends. I had friends that I had grown up with, friends from the speech team and shows, but I wasn’t popular.
One day in 7th grade, I was walking home with Violet, who was one of the most popular of the popular girls. Well, the truth was I was walking out of my way so I could bask in her pretty-perky-glory. We were almost at her corner when she asked if I wanted to come back to her house after school.
For her, a casual invitation; for me, an agonizing choice.
I wasn’t confident in my ability to maneuver the social ins and outs of going to a popular girl’s house — I hadn’t had time to prepare. What if her clique of jocks and cheerleaders decided to join us? What would I say? Did they even speak the same language as me?
This was a test by fire and I knew I was too socially awkward to even attempt it.
I soul-searched for the entire 30 seconds I had and ended up declining her invitation, saying that my mother expected me home right after school. I prayed that there’d be other opportunities and that I’d be able to take baby-steps on my road to popularity.
But that was the first and only time Violet ever invited me to hang out after school.
Now, as an adult, I still have a small circle of close friends made up of people I’ve met throughout my life and a lot of sort-of /social media friends. Not having a ton of friends is good for me. It’s what I can handle and still be able to be a proper friend.
I don’t trust people who say they have a lot of friends. It’s a sure sign that they don’t really know anyone — Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Things are different than when I was in high school (thank God!) Now, you can be popular without having to make eye-contact or pretend that you’re amazing in every way. You can get tons of friends and followers without having to go to one football game or Sadie Hawkins dance.
You can have more friends than you ever dreamed possible.
The question is how are you going to give all these friends, your highest quality of friendship?
If you have too many friends — and this means any number that you can’t comfortably handle; you’re not going to be a good friend at all. You’re going to be stretched too thin and you’re going to fail at friendship.
You’ll forget what you tell people, and you’ll repeat what you say.
Some people will be too polite to tell you that you’re repeating yourself. But when it gets to the third or fourth telling; they’ll speak up and let you know that they’ve already heard that story twice.
Too many friends mess with your self-awareness.
Repetition is great for when you’re learning something but it’s not great if it’s the dream you had last night. The more you tell it, the less funny (if it even was in the first place,) and more annoying it gets. You can start to doubt if you’re as likable as you thought and question other qualities you thought you had that were endearing.
You may go the opposite way, and start to think that everything you have to say is fascinating.
You’ll talk about your day to day routine, your habits, or the minutiae of your life — even if you’re a wizard or a spy, it won’t be that interesting. People don’t want to hear how much you slept or didn’t sleep, your lower-back issues, or if you pooped or not.
You forget who told you what and have to be told again.
When you have so many people sending you messages or texting you, it can get hard to keep things straight and who told you what. Your brain can only hold so much information. All your friends will start to blend in your head and it’ll be embarrassing when you keep getting information that you were told in confidence wrong or you reveal something someone told you in confidence to someone else.
You won’t be able to give anybody your full attention.
Having a ton of friends is like juggling a bunch of plates in the air. There’s only one of you to go around and only so much time you have to spend on other people.
There are those times when we need the validation we get from other people. It’s flattering to have a lot of people who like you and want to be your friend, but at what point do you stop adding in more friends?
You don’t want to disappoint people — and what are you supposed to say anyway? That you don’t want to be their friend or that you don’t have room for them on your friend list?
There’s no reason why you can’t get that same feeling of popularity from having a lot of acquaintances. They can be as much or little of a friend as you need them to be.
It’s a numbers game.
The more friends you have the more likely it is that some of those people aren’t going to be great for you. Are you friends with someone out of a sense of responsibility or history?
If someone was your best friend in grade school and now is your opposite when it comes to the big issues, is this friendship worth continuing to cultivate or should you let it die out?
Limit yourself to having only a handful of close friends. You determine the amount that you can handle without being a jerk. When you’re overscheduled with social obligations, it can get overwhelming.
If you give too much of your energy to other people, you won’t have anything left for yourself.
You’re not being selfish if you put yourself on the top of your list — it’s crucial to your wellbeing that you make some room for yourself, even if it means canceling plans with a friend.
Your quality of friendship is better when the quantity of friends that you have is manageable. If popularity is more important than how you are with your friends, then maybe it’s time for you to become an influencer or a politician.