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Quality Not Quantity….

08/16/2011

Growing up in the area I lived in, popularity seemed to be defined upon friendships. All throughout grade school, middle school, and high school, there was such an emphasis placed on the value of friendship–through the eyes of my peers. It wasn’t about the quality of your friendships, though. Popularity was defined by the number of friendships you had, who you were friends with, what you and your friends did together. It didn’t matter if these were strong, trusting relationships or superficial friendships. It just mattered who was in your social circle. That was what defined popularity.

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Based upon that definition, I was clearly not popular. I will be the first one to openly admit that. I didn’t have a large social circle throughout most of my years as a kid and teenager. My friends came and went sometimes….there was drama….girls were girls…..people would invite you somewhere the one minute and leave you out the next. It wasn’t until the middle of high school that I had a close group of friends. And still, of course, this would not be defined as “popularity” based upon my definition given above, and really– I never cared much. There may have been times when I envied the popular crowd in my school, but mainly I felt content. I was content with having a small, close group of girlfriends to be silly with, gossip with, share stories with, talk with, and be able to trust.

Now, today, I still hold this very same perspective. I don’t think friendships should ever be defined in terms of numbers. Screw quantity. I think the quality of your friendships is truely what is important. I’m glad that at the age I’m at now, we’re past friendship definitions and popularity. I love the fact that I can be friends with everyone. I can be content with the idea that I can be acquaintances with some and closer friends with other individuals. I like the fact that I can meet people in a variety of settings—work, grad school, through other friends, etc…I like the fact that I can be friends with people who are of a different age than me or who have a different lifestyle. I love the fact that despite my differences from some of my friends, I can still form such positive relationships (where I can talk about almost anything). I love the fact that my friendships are now defined in terms of quality instead of quantity.

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Tell me: How was popularity defined when you were growing up? What are your friendships like now as an adult? Are they different than when you were younger?

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