You may think belonging in a friend group and fitting in are pretty similar, they're actually two very different things.
You should never feel like you need to be anyone other than yourself in a friendship, but many of us have already been there, done that (and will never go down that road again).
I've made a lot of different friends in my 20s, but some of those friends I never felt truly comfortable around.
We're all looking for an awesome group of girlfriends who will love us at our worst, and be our biggest supporters when we're at our best. Those of us who have already found a group of true friends are extremely fortunate.
Here are five differences between belonging in your friend group in your 20s and fitting in.
1. Your Shared Interests
All girl squads have some shared interests. This could be a favorite TV show you all watch together, or even a mutual love of trying trendy new restaurants.
It's that initial thing that brings everyone in the group so much closer.
When you're fitting in: If you have shared interests with your friends, you're fitting in. You like to agree with everything your friends say on the subject, and that may be your only safe topic.
You might also fear dipping your toes outside of the group to focus on other passions, because you don't want to take time away from your crew.
When you belong: You know you belong when you can have a differing opinion, and it won't affect how your friends feel about you. Your friendship isn't just based off of this one shared love.
2. Letting Loose And Being Yourself
We all are our own person. It's important to remember we each have something unique and different to bring to the table when it comes to a friend group.
When you're fitting in: You might feel as though you have to be a specific version of yourself in order to fit in. This could mean you're filtering everything you do and say through a lens of what your friends consider "cool."
When you belong: You know your friends celebrate your differences, and you can truly be yourself with them at all times. For example, each member of The Baby-Sitters Club was very different, but each member made the group come full-circle.
3. Your Comfort Level
When you're close friends with someone, you should definitely be way more comfortable with them than you would be with an acquaintance.
When you're fitting in: You're comfortable with your friends, but there is always this little voice in the back of your head that tells you if you mess up once, this friendship could potentially end.
You're not completely on edge, because you know they care, but you're afraid one mistake will make these friends move onto someone new.
When you belong: You know no matter what, you'll be friends forever. You could make mistakes, and your friends will forgive you (in addition to never judging you).
4. The Time You Spend With Them
When you're not at home or work, you want to be spending any free time you have with your main squad.
When you're fitting in: You may feel like you're exhausted making an effort to stay friends with them. You're texting them constantly, or going to every event because you need to keep being present in your friends' lives.
When you belong: You know that even if you don't see your friends for awhile, when you do hang out with them, it's as if nothing has changed.
5. How Long You'll Be Friends
Friends are just like any relationship; they can be for a short period of time, or they last an entire lifetime.
When you're fitting in: In your 20s, you're constantly evolving. You're always hoping for long-term friendships, but you're not entirely sure in your heart how long this one is going to last.
When you belong: You know these friends are here forever. When you feel like you belong, your group of girls is like your second family.
I've had my fair share of insecurities with friends. We're all are striving to feel like we belong, but sometimes, we're just fitting in... and that's OK. It's a learning experience.
The friend group who's in your life for the short-term really makes you appreciate the gems when they do come along.
Eventually, you'll find your tribe, and everything will feel just right.