Remember when you were in high school and there was that one group of popular kids? Remember wanting so badly to just be accepted, or to fit in, but feeling like every time you tried, you fell flat on your face?
That feeling of standing alone in a crowded room, screaming, while the world ignores you—it happens to adults, too. I was reminded of this last week when talking to a friend who’d experienced a similar thing in a working-environment. The difference, I think, is that as teenagers, we don’t have the same understanding of the world as the adult versions of ourselves. This makes it both better, and worse.
Better, because usually our adult selves have other people in our lives. People who love us and who depend on us and who are there to make sure our world continues turning. We have that knowledge somewhere in our mind (however deep it’s buried) that we are all people. And people are complex, with insecurities and self-confidence issues, and fear of the unknown.
But it’s worse as an adult because no one—no matter our age—wants to be thrown into a time-warp and sent back to high school. No one.
Here’s the thing. That clique? The so-called “cool kids club”? It’s not really all it’s cracked up to be. It’s fueled by drama, angst, pain, fear—and very, very rarely by joy. Because the people who feel true joy are the people who don’t feel the need to gather their friends into a group and hold tight to the boundaries. People who feel joy are the people who want to share that joy with everyone. People who have true self confidence don’t feel the need to cut others down or stomp on their opinions or words or work or thoughts. People who feel true joy are the people who are a joy to be around.
And those people attract others who know how to find joy. That particular group grows so fast that it ceases to be a group, and tends to be a whole lot of individuals just being friends. Those friends, being individuals, never have to stand alone because they stand for something much, much bigger. An equality of living and a sharing of life, love, happiness, and friendship.
Those individuals will always attract others, and because of that, there is no high-school-themed-clique-style-drama required.
My point is, just be yourself. The best self you can be. And you will never have to stand alone. Unless there are zombies coming. Then you better learn to run fast.