Question: "How do I open up to my friends and get closer to this new group. My friends now are different from my friends before covid so the girls in the friend group are still getting to know me but they’ve known each other longer. I want to open up to them but I can’t because I don’t trust them that much and I feel like they won’t listen to what I have to say."
Hey chica! Such a good question. I write in the blog a lot about how friendships change: your middle school friend group may look a lot different from who you are closest to when you graduate high school. Evenmore, covid had a major impact on friendships… allowing you to have distance from some people, get closer to others, and maybe even join a completely new group. Discussing the evolution of friendships in simple terms wouldn’t do justice to revealing the challenges associated with actually enacting these changes and really appreciating how difficult it is to become an integral ‘part’ of the group.
First, don’t for a single second criticize or judge yourself for not being closer with these girls yet. I’m proud of you for putting yourself out there and making a huge adjustment in your life. Building a strong basis for a friendship takes a really long time and it’s not supposed to be easy or else everyone in this world would have a million best friends. I’ve known my closest friends since childhood. However, there have been instances where I have immediately clicked with someone and while we may have instantly felt close, the fast paced nature of the friendship caught up with us and we each realized that rushing into a “close” friendship can have it’s issues. Appreciate every second it takes to get to know someone new and be content with the fact that making memorable, true friendships doesn’t happen overnight.
Here are some concrete tips!
After the bell rings…
Before opening up and getting deep, the main way you’ll get closer with these girls is by planning fun things to do together after the bell rings… meaning outside of school. Start circulating tiktoks about cute restaurants or coffee shops in your towns, funny lip sync videos, recipes, party themes, and other ‘friend groupy’ sort of activities to do together. Also make an effort to get to know each girl on an individual level. If it were me in this situation, I would personally do this by facetiming to study with a friend, asking them to go off campus with me for lunch, bonding over finding a dress for semi formal, or watching your school’s soccer play off game together. Think simple, casual ways of creating a little bond with each member of the group more personally.
The girl who wrote in brought up a really important concern about trust. While sensitive and self conscious individuals like you and me think more about whether we are boring people or whether others will even be interested in our problems, the real question should be ‘have these girls earned my trust?’ and ‘do I feel comfortable and protected in this group?’. You’ll be able to answer this question by testing the waters. Hold off on opening up about some major trauma from your past, family issues, or mental health struggles as these are personal and serious matters that will eventually be revealed to close friends but may be too heavy to insert into a conversation at the early stages of a new friendship. Maybe think of something somewhat confidential on a smaller scale such as a new crush or some extracurricular thing that you are nervous about and tell the group only if it naturally comes up in conversation. Use this crush or other little insight as a test. Be really attentive to how the group handles this information (do they check in, act like they care, etc) and give them this initial opportunity to prove that they can be trusted with even small matters.
This brings me to my next point about how vulnerability and communication are vital for the development of a healthy friendship. There is a major difference between airing out your emotional baggage to other people and letting in people who sincerely care about you. Maybe you’ll find that you only really need one super close friend to be ‘that person’ who knows about your deeper insecurities and past/current struggles. Maybe you’ll realize that this friend group serves a slightly different purpose- to be a fun, outgoing group to have lunch with at school. There is no one right answer to understanding the dynamics of a group and your role within that group. However, I will say that the main way I have been able to deepen my connections with newer friends is by having DMCs (read this post) and by opening up to people in a new way. Then, those friends feel comfortable doing the same with you and it just brings you closer.
Good luck my lovely ladies! I have no doubt that when you are a senior you will look back and realize that the beginning is always the hardest but can also be exciting and fresh. The journey of friendship is constant and never truly ends.
We got this,