Feeling we belong somewhere or with a group is good for our mental well being. But, being with the wrong people can sometimes hold us back.
What can I do if I don't feel like I belong?
Building a sense of belonging can take time and there's no 'right' way to go about it.
It can also be a choice we make, as can feeling like we don't belong.
Here are some ideas that might help:
- Concentrate on things you have in common with people around you, rather than what sets you apart
- Make an effort to join in with group activities
- Look for others who share your interests, likes and dislikes
- Try out new activities - it can help you understand the people who do them better
- Offer to share your activities and interests with others
How can I get out of a friendship group I don't want to be part of?
If your group is getting into things you're not comfortable with, that are dangerous or could get you in trouble, it's wise to step away.
In the real world, this is often easier said than done and can be just as hard as building a sense of belonging in the first place. Obviously, you should avoid the people in question and the places they tend to hang out.
Less obvious is the need to find other things to do and other people to be with. If you don't, it's easy to get sucked back in or to end up feeling very lonely.
Spend some time sussing out what you really want out of life. If you do this, it might become more obvious how and where you should be spending your time as well as who with.
Find out what to do if your friend has a different opinion to you or more info about being in a gang.