by Ebehi O.
The transition from elementary or middle school into high school is a tough one. When I was in elementary school, I always had the same group of friends, hung out with the same people and though I did have other friends in different “cliques”, I always reverted back to my “core” group. When I got to high school, my group of friends could be described as the “popular athletic” kids, but they weren’t treating me like I felt I should be treated. I started to get left out of things and in turn, I was always getting mad at them and secluding myself because I felt like what was the point of talking to people who don’t really want to be my friends. Or I felt like there was always something being said behind my back. I started to realize that by sticking with them I was limiting myself from getting to know all the other amazing people out there. So I did something that was extremely scary, and broke away from that core group of friends and started hanging out with other people I met from different classes.
I think this is the best thing I could have done. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep your core group of friends, but my advice is expand your horizons. Girls always seem to feel pressure to be popular and hang out with certain people. And I’m not just talking about “popular” kids; it could be the group that underage drinks or smokes, or people that gossip, people that don’t share your same values, but you need to know that it’s okay to break away from that. It’s okay to say,
“I’m not feeling valued in this friendship… I want to be friends with other people.”
Whether it’s friends, classes, sports, any kind of experience – step out of your comfort zone a bit because you never know what other doors and relationships you may come across.
While my old group only hung out with the same people or only spoke to people who were “popular” or “athletic”, I was interacting and making connections with new people with varying interests. It’s hard to do that when you are stuck in the same routine, so don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. It will seem scary, you may feel lonely and like you made a terrible mistake, but when you get older you will know how to create relationships with all walks of life, all personalities. And hey, you never know – like me, you might find out that the friends you have weren’t “true blue”, but that the new ones have opened your eyes to what real friendship is. I made true friends who had more in common with me and it expanded my interests and I think it made me who I am today. And I’m still learning.
Do what’s right for you and don’t be afraid to challenge the norms. In the end, you will thank yourself for allowing yourself to grow as a person because YOU chose to.