The desire to fit in and belong is natural, particularly among kids growing into young adults. This is also the time when you will be sensitive and easily hurt when people exclude you for any reason. “I don’t have any friends,” is a common refrain.
It is hard, but you need to be choosy on who you let into your world as a friend. If people are excluding you, that could be a gift. You do not want to hang out with people that are a bad influence, or want to connect with you for their selfish ends.
Next, think about what friendship means to you. A friend will help you, support you and make you feel good about yourself. Over time, they will be people you can count on anytime you need a helping hand or support.
It will help to know what you need and appreciate in a friend. It is likely you enjoy similar activities, or have similar perspectives on life. You may know know it yet, but you are starting to develop values that you care about – honesty, respect, support, optimism and more. If your friends have different values, you will get surprised and occasionally, hurt.
Remember three things. Groups of people who hang out are not necessarily friends. You do not need to belong in order to feel confident about yourself. Next, true friends in life will number less than the fingers on your hands. They are a precious and rare commodity. When you find one, work hard to keep them. Finally, having no friends is better than having the wrong friends.
Once you take control of your social universe, define and find your people, you are setting a good foundation of healthy relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime.