I came across this great quote the other day that said, “Small circle. Private life. Peaceful mind.” It made me realize that the older I get, the smaller my circle of trust becomes, and I’m absolutely okay with that. Let’s discuss why it’s not a bad thing at all.
The Older I Get, The Smaller My Circle of Trust Becomes
Like most young people, I spent a good chunk of my youth measuring my overall value by the number of people I had in my circle. The more friends I had, the more successful I felt. After all, if 100 people think I’m pretty great, I must be doing something right, correct?
You can’t blame me for feeling that way, really. We’re taught from a very early age that popularity is the key to everything in life. We’ve all been told so many times that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Ergo, if you know a lot of people, you’ll have a better chance of getting ahead.
With age comes wisdom, though, and as I got older, I learned that a small circle filled with true friends that I can trust with my heart, soul (and yes, secrets) is infinitely more valuable than an ocean-sized circle of pseudo-friends.
When you know your circle, you never have to worry about people drilling holes in your boat
Let’s stick with that ocean metaphor for a moment. I came across a quote that perfectly explains exactly why I keep my circle small these days. It goes, “Make sure everybody in your ‘boat’ is rowing and not drilling holes when you’re not looking. Know your circle.”
With a giant circle, you really just never know if someone is secretly drilling holes in your boat. When you have a small circle of trust, though, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everyone in it is actually rowing.
Sure, sometimes someone rows in the wrong direction, metaphorically speaking. Even the closest friends have arguments and disagreements. But when you’re truly on the same team, it’s easy enough to course-correct and get back on the right track. Real friends don’t let disagreements sink the whole boat.
True friends choose to understand
Vironika Tugaleva once wrote, “In some ways, we will always be different. In other ways, we will always be the same. There is always room to disagree and blame, just as there is always room to take a new perspective and empathize. Understanding is a choice.”
When you disagree with someone that you genuinely love and trust, you choose to empathize with them and at least try to understand their perspective. I choose to fill my inner circle of trust with people that I know would choose to understand me, and that I’d do the same for in return.
You can do the same as you cultivate your own circle. Ask yourself, “If we had a fight over something I’m passionate about, would I try to repair the friendship or just let it go?” If you’d choose to let it go, that person doesn’t belong in your inner circle. Let them go now. Don’t hold onto them just because you feel like you have to. Losing friends is a part of growing up.
Slowly losing friends is a part of growing up, and it’s okay.
Another quote I saw on Facebook said, “Slowly losing friends is a part of growing up. It’s okay to have less but real ones.” I think that’s something we only learn as we get older. When we’re young, we try to hold onto friendships with an iron fist. We take the last “F” in “BFF” very seriously.
The thing is some best friends aren’t meant to be lifers. As we grow and change, so does the depth of our friendships. When we cling together in the same boat, one of us will end up drilling holes just to escape, even without realizing it.
It is okay to let people go. It’s okay to say, “I love you, and I want to keep loving you, keep our happy memories intact. I feel like we’ve grown apart, though. So, for the sake of everything we were to each other in the past, I am letting you go now, but I will always be there for you if you truly need me.”
On the other hand, if your friendship grows toxic instead of just apart, give yourself permission to completely cut ties. Hey, like the Facebook meme says, “Sometimes those who don’t socialize much aren’t actually anti-social. They just have no tolerance for drama, stupidity, and fake people.” You should never force yourself to tolerate fake friends just for the sake of your circle.
Long story short, we’re not in high school anymore. Having more friends doesn’t equal a richer and more fulfilled life. A small circle filled with people that you truly love and trust is so much better than one filled with people trying to sink your boat behind your back.
I want to leave you with one last quote. It says, “Never expect. Never assume. Never ask. And never demand. Just let it be, if it’s meant to be it will happen.” A true friend is someone who is there without expectations or demands, and without assuming that you’ll ask them to be there for you. That’s how you know they belong in your circle.