My dad is a rule follower. He’s amazing and I absolutely adore him but in my humble opinion, he’s definitely a rule follower. He and my mom.
However, society sets out some rules for us that he doesn’t follow.
You know the rules: girls who sleep around are sluts, you have to want to have friends and hate being alone, big girls aren’t valued as much as those that aren’t, etc. (Yes, I know. Horribly jaded and super messed up and I don’t believe in ANY of those but I have been told by society enough times to know there’s a large majority that believe them.)
I never think about the difference between rules like don’t murder people and the ones mentioned above, though. I just kind of accept things if society says them. I still try to march to the beat of my own drum, but I accept that my drum isn’t going to be as popular as others.
A rule I’ve recently been struggling with is the fact that we need to want to have friends and then spend time with those friends doing whatever they do. It doesn’t matter if those friends build us up or have common interests, we should just want to want friends.
A little background… I used to be really close friends with a girl who made me feel terrible about myself. I was constantly reaching out to her and trying to get her to be in my life but she would always rather spend time with people who made her a worse version of herself. Then she would make me feel guilty that I never wanted to hang out with her friends that made her feel bad about herself and a whole bunch of other stuff.
After a long time of letting her make me feel terrible about myself I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. I love this girl to death and I honestly wish it didn’t come to this, but at some point you have to be your own advocate or, as my brother would say, “look out for number one.”
So, since then it’s been extra important to me to only spend time with people that make me feel good about myself. The hours I have to devote to leisure are so few and far between that I don’t want to spend the time with people who make me feel crappy about me. Life’s just too short, man.
However, I’ve been feeling bad about that recently because that’s not what society wants. How many times have you looked at the person with no friends and judged them simply because they were alone? What if they liked being alone? What if they weren’t into house parties or drinking wine or whatever it is people do these days?
So on the way home from the movies when I was home I was ranting to my dad about this and all my insecurities that come with it and he just turned to me and said something profound, “Kaitlin, you just need to remember there are no rules.”
Did you catch that?
There are no effing rules, y’all.
I don’t know about you but to me, that’s empowering. There’s no manual that tells us what we should or shouldn’t do in society. There’s no law that says you have to have friends or you have to want to spend time with people who only bring negativity into your life.
If you prefer to watch Netflix and grocery shop and sleep in on the weekends (and sometimes go on vacations alone) then more power to you! If you don’t know someone that wants to hang out with you while you do those things, then do them alone!
I learned in my various internships that oftentimes hanging out alone is fantastic because you get to decide when and what to do when you want to. It’s the bomb.com.
So, while this doesn’t mean I want to be a hermit and have no friends ever, it definitely makes me feel less bad about not wanting to make new friends simply to have friends and instead put in the time to find friendships where we can build each other up and be a positive influence in each other’s lives.
What are your thoughts on making friends?