Relationship Expert Reveals Why People Without A Big Friend Group Aren’t ‘Behind’

Embrace the richness that comes from forming meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds.

woman feels out of touch from friend group silverkblackstock / Shutterstock

It’s easy to feel overlooked or undervalued if the size of your friend group isn’t very large. However, research suggests the notion that bigger is better when it comes to friendships is not entirely true.

A relationship expert on TikTok revealed why people without big friend groups are far from ‘behind.’

After content creator Eli Rallo posted a TikTok explaining why she believed friend groups stifle individuals’ abilities to grow and experience life independently, Danielle Bayard Jackson, a relationship expert, stitched a response to the video offering further insight into the topic. 


Rallo expressed how friend groups often develop a “group mentality,” the tendency for people to conform their behaviors and beliefs to those of the group they belong to.



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“This prohibits you from making other friends and branching out in other directions,” Rallo said.

In Jackson’s TikTok, she revealed research from a 2021 study that surveyed over 4,000 people from the U.S. and the Netherlands to evaluate how people congregate socially. According to the study, 52% of people gathered in pairs when they socialized, 18% gathered in trios, and 9% gathered in groups of four. These findings highlighted the significance of quality over quantity when it comes to platonic relationships. 

The data implied that women especially tend to be more dyadic and crave deeper, intimate one-on-one connections, which Jackson stated are much easier to coordinate plans with as opposed to a much larger group.

It’s actually quite natural to experience a dip in your social life when you reach adulthood and have less free time.

Jackson additionally explained that women in their 30s and 40s usually have much less leisure time than other generations for various factors, such as raising families, growing in their careers, and balancing other responsibilities. 




These life changes can make it difficult to maintain individual friendships, let alone a bigger friend group. 

However, eventually as life goes on, Jackson stated that women will regain this free time and have the ability to cultivate and maintain secure relationships once again.

Limiting yourself to the friends within your comfort zone can be detrimental to your ability to discover diverse perspectives.

Jackson explained how this group dynamic can hinder intimacy and reciprocity from developing within the friendships, and Rallo emphasized her strong opinions about how friend groups specifically can suppress individuals from exploring diverse perspectives and forming connections with people from different backgrounds. 


While this is true, Jackson also shared that the same could be said about people who stay within their dyads. While many people have that one best friend they can always go to; it’s important for this to not be the only friendship you’re nurturing.

“When those friendships dissolve, they feel stuck or lost as to how to move forward because they’ve invested so much into this one person,” Jackson said.



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In general, whether it be in a friend group or a pair, some people tend to get stuck in their comfort zones and avoid expanding their network, but they don't realize the opportunities they lose by staying in their bubbles.

While it’s natural to nurture and strengthen the significant friendships we already have in our lives, sometimes these friendships can inhibit us from diversifying our own individual life experiences.

When you limit yourself to the same friendships, you miss out on the growth you can gain through interacting with different people who can expose you to new ideas and ways of thinking. 

Every person you meet brings their own unique experiences, perspectives, and beliefs to the table, enriching your own worldview and challenging your assumptions. 


There’s so much to gain from stepping outside your comfort zone and fostering individuality among diverse relationships.

Several individuals in the comments of both Rallo and Jackson’s videos offered their own takes on the subject, mostly agreeing that diverse friendships from different areas of life can broaden our horizons.

While it can be fulfilling to have a friend group you feel safe and comfortable with, and we all require our own support systems, these same friend groups can also inhibit independent growth and evolution. They can additionally create codependent attachment styles, making it much more difficult to approach environments with independence and confidence.

group of friends on hike Helena Lopes / Canva Pro


“Friend groups don't work when the group doesn't bother working on individual relationships with the people in the group — it’s exhausting,” one person commented on Jackson’s video.

“It’s also hard to find yourself in a friend group… am I doing this [because] I want to or [because] they’re doing it?” someone commented on Rallo’s TikTok

“Have observed soooo much arrested development in big friend groups that refuse to evolve,” another person mentioned in the comments.

Meanwhile, cultivating more variety and diversity within our relationships can promote a stronger sense of individuality and self-discovery.  


“It’s really nice to have different kinds of friends who validate all the different parts of you instead of one big group,” another person commented on Rallo’s TikTok.

By cultivating both intimate friendships and community-based friendships, you can experience a more fulfilling social life.

Overall, developing friendships is a significant part of life, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having a strong, intimate foundation among your life-long friends, whether that be in a pair, trio, or group. 



The level of growth and enrichment you can achieve through expanding your connections in various areas of your life will surprise you. 


“The research shows that people who have relational diversity are happier overall,” Jackson concluded in the caption of her video. “That means you should have different kinds of friends from different kinds of places. Be sure to prioritize that in your friendship journey, and you will be OK.”

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human interest, adventure, and spirituality topics.