Some people prefer hanging out in a group, others find it easier socializing with just one friend at a time. What makes one situation preferable over the other to some people?
The Case for Socializing in Groups
Often, socializing in a group of friends is a very easy option because you have to come up with less of the conversation compared with hanging out with one person. In a group of 5 people, you would normally be contributing about 20% of the talk, whereas with just one person you would have to come up with a heftier 50% of it (of course, it’s not like these are mandatory quotas or anything… but you get the idea). Also, hanging out in a group of friends offers more unique combinations of remarks and allows for a bit more humor and fun which can relax everyone. An added bonus of hanging out in a group is it’s generally easier to leave or stop talking after a shorter time if you want to without it seeming too obvious, such as at a social or a party.
The Case for Hanging Out in With Just One Person
On the other hand, hanging out with just one friend at a time is also an easy option in other ways. For example, issues like cliquiness or highly controversial topics that can arise in groups are usually not present when hanging out one on one. Also, it’s a bit less embarrassing if you put your foot in your mouth when there’s only one other person there to notice! And last but certainly not least, socializing with a friend one on one means that you get to know them a lot better than you could in a group setting. You will be able to discuss any problems you’re each having, get advice from each other, and talk about deep and meaningful things that don’t often get discussed in group conversations.
A Mix of Both Types of Socializing is Ideal
Ideally, you would do both: spend some of your social time in groups and some with just one person. Why? Because in a group setting you won’t get to know any of the people in any great depth. Conversely, if you only hang out with one friend at a time, you’ll get to know these people really well – but you’ll miss out on all the fun times you could have had with that friend in a group setting. A mix of both types of socializing with your friends is therefore ideal.
Why Do Some People Prefer One Type of Socializing Over the Other?
Although a mix of both types of socializing are good for friendships, plenty of people happen to have a preference for one type of socializing, even if they participate in both types. What makes some people prefer being in groups and others with just one person at a time?
How well you know the group versus the person: For example, a group of people you know well can seem easier to socialize with than one person you don’t know so well, and vice versa.
Age and stage of life: In high school and early college, hanging out in groups can get pretty stressful because of cliques and shifting allegiances. As we grow older, these problems are a thing of the past, or if they arise we tend to deal with them in a mature way. Therefore, hanging out in groups becomes an easier option as we get older because some of the major disadvantages become less pronounced.
How much you enjoy meeting new people: In general, if you are more outgoing and enjoy meeting new people, this may explain a preference for socializing in a group because you get to be around more people at a time. Furthermore, in a group you are more likely to meet new people because someone might bring another friend along to the group event.
Ask yourself which type of socializing you prefer and why. You might learn something new about yourself!