You Don't Need To Be The Leader Of Your Friend Group To Have A Fulfilling Social Life

Some people don't just want a group of friends. They want to be the leader, the center that everything revolves around, the mover and shaker in their social circle. They want everyone to look up to them. They want to plan most of the get togethers, and have everyone eager to attend. They want the other members to defer to their choices and opinions.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be popular, respected, or influential in your group. It's an understandable goal. However, some lonely, awkward people want to improve their social lives, and assume the only way they'll feel happy and fulfilled is if they become the top dog of a group. I'll make my case that you don't need to be the group leader to have a rewarding social life. I'll also explain how sometimes being an important member of a group isn't as great as you might think it is.

Not all friend groups have a clear cut leader or most popular member

Some social circles certainly do, but life isn't always like a high school or college movie, where a Queen Bee may rule over her friends. In many groups everyone is more or less on an equal level. They all like and respect each other to about the same degree. They decide on plans together, or take turns suggesting things. Or there might be one or two people who take on the Planner role, but it doesn't make them super-powerful. Yeah, if you carefully monitored them for a few months you'd see some friends did have a bit more sway than others, but day to day no one really thinks that way.

Being the group leader doesn't always provide amazing benefits

People can want to be the group leader because they believe it will bring all these positives to their lives. It can, but it doesn't always have the pay off they expect:

On the other hand, there are plenty of ways to be respected, attractive, or secure with yourself without being the superstar of a social circle.

Being the group's event planner can be a thankless job

People may assume if they were the group's planner then that would automatically make them important and powerful among their friends. They think if everyone regularly agrees to someone's plans it must be because they respect them so much, and want to follow whatever they propose. Or they believe if someone's managed to become the planner they won the spot over their other friends, because they put together the best outings, and everyone admires them for it.

Popularity and planning aren't always connected. Often being the group planner is seen in a neutral light, or even unappreciated. Everyone is glad when someone arranges a get together, or hosts an event at their place, but they don't necessarily think the person who organized it is amazing or in charge. They may even take them for granted, and not pull their own weight. Many planners say things like, "My friends are all lazy and disorganized. If I didn't put in the work no one in this group would ever meet up." A social circle may have a more popular or respected member who doesn't do much planning, and is happy to go along with whatever everyone else decides.

Being the in-demand popular person doesn't fit everyone's personality

Some people chase a leadership role because it just seems like it would be good to have. They don't take a moment to consider whether it gels with their personality or social style:


As I said, it's okay if a part of you wants to be your social circle's leader. But don't feel it's something you must go after. If you make friends with a group of nice, fun people who you have a lot in common with, you'll probably be quite happy as a regular member. And if you do become the leader it may not be as life changing as you imagine it will.

This article is on a closely related, but not quite the same, topic:

You Don't Need To Obsess Over Your Social Status If You Just Want A Regular, Fulfilling Social Life