It protects your energy
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 38 per cent of Aussie women always or often feel rushed or pressed for time, with females aged 35 to 44 years (55 per cent) the ones most likely to report feeling hurried. After paid labour, domestic labour, childcare and all the other challenges life throws at us, it’s unsurprising we don’t have the time to catch up with 10 friends for a few hours.
“It’s essential to know your energy limits, especially when it comes to maintaining friendships,” says Jacqui.
“With a smaller social circle, you can concentrate your limited time and energy on the people you truly cherish and who nourish you emotionally.”
It feels like family
Jacqui explains that a smaller social circle can resemble a close-knit family.
“Like a healthy family dynamic, these friends are the ones you can rely on, confide in deeply and have honest conversations with,” she says. “They provide a strong support system, offering guidance and understanding during both good times and challenging moments.”
This small circle can become an integral part of your life and offer an important sense of belonging.
It allows for authenticity
While variety is the spice of life, a big mixed bag of friends can often present a range of personalities that we might clash with and struggle to be ourselves around.
“Within your smaller social circle, generally, your tight friends will be more strongly aligned with shared interests and values,” Jacqui says.
“Spending time with them becomes enjoyable, as you can engage in activities that bring mutual fulfilment and create lasting memories.”
As you’re more likely to share similar passions and hobbies, small friendship groups provide a space to allow yourself to be more vulnerable and authentic.
RELATED: What is Mental Health First Aid?
There is more mutual acceptance
We’ve all felt the need to bail on plans with friends, and Jacqui says doing so might actually be easier with smaller groups.
“There is often a sense of freedom and flexibility; these friends understand that life gets busy and responsibilities fluctuate,” she notes. “There is a mutual acceptance of each other’s priorities and availability.”
This forgiving dynamic acknowledges that life circumstances can impact the frequency of catch-ups, without affecting the underlying bond and care for each other.
“The inner circle of friends is typically composed of individuals who have your back, no matter what,” Jacqui explains. “There is a level of acceptance and understanding within this group, and they are there for you through thick and thin.”
As you rely on them (often without judgement), Jacqui says your sense of security and trust strengthens the bond and allows for open, honest communication – and who doesn’t need that from friends?