Pacing back in my memories to high school days, I remember well enough how much I longed to be a part of some popular group. The many teen movies and series that feature a fun gang would always make me look up to be a part of such a gang. Even way back in primary school or perhaps here in college, I always wanted to be a member of the huge group that hung out all day. But sadly everywhere, I failed miserably at being a part of such a group. Now that I look back and introspect, I tried to figure out this excessive need of being in one.
Every student can brag about the group they belong to. Now, a lot can be told about the person from the kind of pack they identify with. Birds of same feather flock together; subconsciously one feels safer with a group where his behaviour and characteristics is acknowledged sans any judgement and criticism.
Of course, every person is unique but in a pack, there lays a connecting thread. How else could we justify groups of tens and twenties.
There will be a popular group, the only link joining them is how they usher in the attention thrown on them for no apparent reasons. There is the technical geeks, the academically gifted, the lively ones, the athletes and a whole bunch of mix and match. I don’t mean to stereotype by grouping people into categories. Sometimes there are less obvious reasons for categorizing with a group, be it political and social outlook or an incident that forged a strong bond.
When you are in a pack, you are shielded. You could be loud, boisterous and distasteful but you know there is a bunch of people waiting to back you. It’s not just the ones you have your lunch with. It is a silent contract to be protected from bullies and any kind of negativity that might come in the way.
But what happens when you aren’t a part of one?
I could never identify with a group as a whole. I could bond with a few people but not put up with the rest of the pack. Since school, I have made few friends. I would hang out with one or two people and the only regret or difficulty in dealing with this is that my plans would be hinged to the whims of just one person.
Sure, I never had a large group, owing to my social awkwardness but I could never regret it. You see by identifying with a particular group, it takes enormous efforts to move beyond it. Having a few friends means having no amazing trips, no crazy parties but as we grow older, parties lessen, vacations are rare and what you really need from your friends is support and understanding.
Most large groups are fun to have a good time with but there is no intimacy or any space to be personal and comfortable. There is a constant facade we have to put on because you have to accommodate so many people and each of their quirks. With fewer friends I have had the luxury of having space, time and undivided attention.