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Should I Expand My Circle of Friends?

Should I Expand My Circle of Friends?

 “My clique is my comfort zone, and it’s very difficult for me to step outside of it.”​—Alan.

 “I have a small circle of friends, and I like it that way. I’m not one to branch out and talk to people I don’t know.”​—Sara.

 Do you feel the way Alan and Sara do? Do you have a tight-knit group of friends and find it uncomfortable to make new ones?

 If so, this article is for you!

 The problems with cliques

 There’s nothing wrong with having a tight-knit group of friends. Having a close circle of friends gives you a sense of belonging and a place where you are accepted for who you are​—flaws and all.

 “It feels good to be liked by others and to be part of a group. When you’re young, you just want to fit in.”​—Karen, 19.

 Did you know? Jesus’ 12 apostles were among his many friends, but three of those apostles​—Peter, James, and John​—were his closest companions.​—Mark 9:2; Luke 8:​51.

 However, associating with only an exclusive group of friends​—and shutting out others​—can create problems. For example:

  •   It can close the door to other potentially great friendships.

     “Having only friends who are similar to you closes you off to new experiences​—and to fantastic people.”​—Evan, 21.

  •   It can make you appear snobbish.

     “When you have an exclusive group of friends, you can give off the vibe that you don’t want to talk to anyone else.”​—Sara, 17.

  •   It can lead you to take part in bullying.

     “An individual might not bully someone, but if your circle of friends does it, suddenly it seems OK​—even funny.”​—James, 17.

  •   It can get you into trouble​—especially if you want to belong to that group at any price.

     “All it takes is one bad person in a tight-knit group for the whole group to be swayed into wrongdoing.”​—Martina, 17.

 What you can do

  •   Examine your values.

     Ask yourself: ‘What values do I strive to live by? Do my friends make it easier or harder for me to live by those values? Would I hold on to those friends at any price?’

     Bible principle: “Bad associations corrupt good morals.”​—1 Corinthians 15:33, footnote.

     “When your group is made up of people who don’t share your values, you could find yourself doing things you never would have done otherwise.”​—Ellen, 14.

  •   Examine your priorities.

     Ask yourself: ‘Is my circle of friends so tight that I would compromise my standards to preserve it? What would I do if a friend did something wrong?’

     Bible principle: “All those for whom I have affection, I reprove.”​—Revelation 3:​19.

     “If someone in your group gets into trouble and your loyalties are misplaced, it could seem like a betrayal to speak up about it.”​—Melanie, 22.

  •   Expand your friendships.

     Ask yourself: ‘Could I benefit by widening my circle of friends to include some I do not know as well?’

     Bible principle: “Look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.”​—Philippians 2:4.

     “Kids who are considered unpopular might just have a tough life at home. Once you get to know them, you usually find out that they are awesome in their own way.”​—Brian, 19.

 The bottom line: There’s nothing wrong with having a close-knit group of friends. At the same time, you may benefit from expanding your circle of friends to include others. The Bible says: “Whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”​—Proverbs 11:25.