Story on Community

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Entertainment

Choose the few you love over trying to please everyone.

I am a textbook extrovert. I define success by the number of people I know. I am the kind of person who considers 27 people my best friend. I am constantly terrified how big my bridal party will be! Note, I’ve been single for 3 years. Healthy? Nope!

Last year I returned from a month abroad to find my LA social life in a state of confusion. My best friend had broken up with her boyfriend of three years (a good thing!), but the ex was, unfortunately, our main bloodline to a large group of friends. Without his connection to them, I felt like 30 of my friends were no longer mine (bad thing!).

Here’s the thing, though: I talked to maybe three of those people during that month abroad. Most of those 30 friends weren’t my actual friends. They were part of a numbers game for an extrovert looking to feel less lonely in a city that still didn’t feel like home. I realized those people didn’t seem to grasp that I was a funny, charming, room-brightening (very humble) unicorn of a human. But still, extrovert mental breakdown.

Then my BFF and I went on a five-week trip to Asia. Five days in, I fell off a motorcycle and broke my arm in Vietnam. I had surgery in Thailand and continued traveling for four weeks. I know – insane. My BFF carried both our backpacks through five weeks of travel. She’s a magical human and the definition of an incredible friend; I would give up 5,930 friends to have someone like her in my life always.

Later, we were dancing on a beach, sipping rum punch, arm cast flailing in the air (very sexy) when this dude walked up to us. “You guys look like the most fun! Meet my friends, we all go to UCLA Business School.” JACKPOT. Cut to months later: I’m sitting in a circle at a rental home in San Diego talking in a British accent (standard) and full-belly laughing. It’s me, my BFF, and a whole crew of UCLA kids. Those dudes are my real friends now. The good kind who think I’m a unicorn.

Extrovert life lesson: Choose the few you love – even if it feels lonely – over trying to please everyone. It makes space in your life for finding the very best.

Laura McDonaldCommunity, Friendship