I Made My Social Circle Smaller & It’s Made Me Feel Less Lonely

Why does it seem like no matter how many social media followers you have and Insta stories you post of yourself having so much fun that you can still end up feeling so alone? Turns out, less really is more as I recently learned when I seriously culled my social circle. Here’s why you should consider doing the same.

  1. You’ll realize who was just there to use you. Some people only keep you around because you meet one of their needs. These are the friends who always invite you to their events. They can count on you to help fill the room and add an extra gift to the table, yet every time you have something going on, they have an excuse for why they can’t be there. What a bummer.
  2. You’ll stop wondering why your friendships seem one-sided. Do you ever feel like someone you know thinks you’re a free therapist? These are the people who will call you at any hour of the day (or night even!) to vent or ask for advice. You are their go-to for dumping their emotional baggage, but once you try to shift to what you have going on, they suddenly check out or have to end the convo. Wow.
  3. You’ll stop giving inauthentic people access to your life. Some people only hang around to spy on you. These are the friends who will consistently react to your posts and immediately message you for more juicy details when it’s something big or mysterious but once you’ve answered all their questions—poof! They’re gone with no attempt to help solve your dilemma or offer emotional support. Um…?
  4. You’ll have more time to devote to your real friends. Fake friends can sometimes be more immediately accessible than your real ones. They’re not doing the actual work of friendship so their half-attention for you is always freed up. The more time you keep catering to these relationships, the less you’re spending with people who are in it with you through the long haul. These are the plants you want to be watering, even if you can’t connect with them as often because of busy schedules. When you really need someone, they’ll be there.
  5. You’ll stop questioning if people really are your friends or not. Some people live to put others down. It truly pains them to see you win. They’ll always find a way to leave you feeling discouraged or uncertain about yourself but also try to confuse you with empty compliments and fake enthusiasm later. Real friends are consistent. Even when the truth hurts, they’ll be careful to let you down easy and offer a shoulder to cry on when it all hits the fan. You’ll just know with them.
  6. You’ll stop feeling like you have to censor or explain yourself. We all have our bad days. If the Midol wears off mid-afternoon during a raging cramp attack straight from the pits of fire below and you forget to check your attitude at the door, your true friends will forgive you. They’ll know the real you and see through any day to day changes of mood or circumstance. Sometimes they’ll even know you better than you know yourself. You can relax and be comfortable without leading with a disclaimer.
  7. You’ll free yourself up to meet more people. Once you declutter the broken or expired relationships in your life, you’ll be left with vacant spots to fill. Except this time, any new additions to your social group will become an independent variable. Since you’ll already be strengthened and uplifted by the quality friendships remaining, it will be easier to notice if the new energy only ends up draining you, fits right in with the type of people already surrounding you, or if this plus-one adds even more value to your current circle. Trimming your friendship ends can lead to more interpersonal growth.
  8. You’ll cut out negative feelings towards people who weren’t real in your life. You know that feeling of being so over someone that even when they say something totally harmless, you’re already on defense or instantly annoyed? Or every time you see a certain someone’s status update, you feel down—for instance, they post a photo of themselves hosting an event and you don’t know why you weren’t invited? You have a secure place in your real friends’ lives and you will feel genuinely happy or concerned for them depending on how their lives change. If someone in your life keeps bringing out unpleasant emotions in you, it’s probably a sign that the connection is faulty. Do yourself a favor and start rewiring.
  9. You won’t have to live on someone else’s time. They’re basically sending you the message that they’re better than you and to be worthy of their time, you need to put in all the effort. They’re always “busy,” want you to come to them, or take their precious time to respond to you. You have to re-arrange your schedule to make meeting up work. They want you to travel farther or always come to their place. You only get to talk to them when they’re free. You catch yourself waiting around to hear back from them or get a chance to be a part of their lives for the brief moments they let you back in. Don’t short change yourself. You’re good enough for meaningful friendships year-round.
I’m Cara, not to be confused with Carrie, although you could say I’m a Millennial Bradshaw of sorts. Pop culture connoisseur. Lover of all things creative and passionate about health and personal well-being. Follow me on IG @cara_vale_writer