friendship

"No Zoom drinks or WhatsApp groups." At 32, I've never been in a 'girl gang'.

Confession: I don’t have a WhatsApp friend group. 

I also never had Zoom drinks with the girls during isolation. And since restaurants reopened, I haven’t been invited to a single group dinner. 

I’ve never been great socialising in groups – I gravitate strongly towards one-on-one, meaningful relationships. And these last few months it has really hit home how this friendship isn’t celebrated nearly as much in society as the classic ‘girl gang’. 

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Lately, like most, I’ve spent a lot more time scrolling on my phone, and after a while it made me seriously question my real-life social skills. I started comparing my own friendships to those oh-so-close groups of women I kept seeing online. They seemed so happy, so connected, so cool.  

I found myself pining for a group of girlfriends to gossip and giggle with.

I even started listing my friends (ok, it’s a shortlist) and wondering whether they had groups I could join, or whether I could lump them together to form my own gang.

But then I stopped and realised I didn’t need to. 

Maybe I’m different from everyone else, but I don’t think I want to be part of a gang. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m an extrovert. Put me in a room full of people and I’m energised. I’ve just never found one particular set of women I fit into.

Maybe it’s my personality; I wear my heart on my sleeve, which also means I’m not great at faking interest or enjoyment in something if I don’t genuinely feel it. Plus, I’m terrible at small talk – I never seem to know the latest Netflix show/fashion trend/celebrity relationship/political movement I should be all over.

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In my experience, conversations are a lot lighter in groups than they can be between just two or three friends. Everyone becomes a little more guarded (understandably) in what they have to say.

For those reasons, I seem to fade out in group settings. I run out of things to say, or I lose interest.

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How do I like my friendships? I like meaningful chats and outrageous belly laughs with a friend who knows my deepest secrets. I love a long walk listening to my buddy’s new business idea. I could spend hours analysing my kids’ behaviour over a coffee with my mum. 

I prefer my friendships to be deep and authentic. I’m sure we all do. But maybe a lot of us feel pressure to be in a ‘group’? Maybe we’re not as removed from high school mentality as we think we are?

Now, I’m not talking about the wider Sisterhood - I am a loud and proud member of that movement. The increasing respect, support and loyalty between women all over the world is something I am eternally grateful for. 

And I’m not in any way criticising those who are happy being part of a tight-knit group of girlfriends, either. We might socialise differently, but we’re all ok.

I’m just suggesting that I think we need to celebrate the solo friends a little more. We might not fit into a specific social circle, but we are always there for you on the sidelines. We’ll support you through your darkest hours, keep your secrets and celebrate your wins authentically and with all our heart. 

So, I don’t have a WhatsApp group, or participate in regular Girls Nights Out. I don’t have 'the girls'. But I don’t need to compare myself to those who do, either. 

Let’s be confident enough to do what makes us happy and stop judging - ourselves, or anyone else. In the end, that’s what makes a good friend.

Feature Image: Getty

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