Remember this famous quote from Jim Rohn?
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.”
Research has shown again and again that this is in fact true. Who you regularly spend time with, matters.
For most of us, life is busy and curating our circle of friends doesn’t seem high on our list of priorities.
But life is short and I always like to remind people to curate, curate, curate!
Be conscious about what and who you invite into your life, about the decisions you make because they all combine to create your one precious life!
Which 5 friends do you spend the most time with? How did they become your friends? What draws you to them? How do you feel after spending time with them? Nourished? Comforted? Invigorated? Or slightly depressed? Blah? Neutral?
Please note that this post is not about becoming judgemental of your friends, it is not about dropping your friends like hot cakes, and it is not about becoming an arrogant doodoo-head who is suddenly too good for his friends.
It’s simply about becoming curious about the choices you have made – and how they are currently affecting you. The more conscious you become about your lifestyle and your choices, the higher life satisfaction you will have.
5 Ways Your Friends Are Influencing You
1. Your Health
Who you choose to spend time with can say a lot about your commitment to your health and to a healthy lifestyle. Do you surround yourself with people who make healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising regularly or eating clean, and who prioritize their health?
If your regular get-togethers always involve binge-drinking for example, this will obviously heavily influence your health. Healthy people like to do healthy things so hanging around healthy people or people who are committed to becoming healthier will naturally lead you to becoming healthier too.
Do your friends spend hours in front of the TV? Do they lead mostly sedentary lives?
Do they have strong self-care routines? Do they believe in therapy? Do they take care of themselves? Do they have healthy boundaries?
Again, this isn’t about judging them, it’s just about paying attention to how their habits and choices might be influencing you.
2. Your Self-Esteem
While true self-esteem is an inside job just like happiness is, who you spend time with most definitely affects how you feel about yourself. Forging deep and meaningful connections with people who take the time to truly get to know you, people who truly admire you (for you, not for your money, beauty or fame) and support you, will boost your sense of self. You will feel seen, heard and valued.
Conversely, when you spend your time with people who haven’t taken the time to really get to know you, or who like to stay on the surface and not go very deep and who you don’t share much intimacy with, you can be left feeling even more disconnected, misunderstood, and undervalued.
Having a strong sense of connection to a select few will dramatically boost your self-esteem. When we feel connected we are much less likely to succumb to depression and/or anxiety, and we tend to have much higher overall life satisfaction. Here’s a fantastic TED talk that links addiction with a lack of meaningful connection: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong.
So make sure your top 5 friends are people you can be authentically you with, go deep with, be vulnerable with, and who you trust implicitly.
3. Your Happiness
Happiness breeds more happiness just as gratitude begets more gratitude. Are your friends a happy, grateful bunch? Do they take the time to regularly count their blessings and to express their gratitude and appreciation? Do they focus on what’s going well in their worlds and do they have a tendency to see the glass half full?
Or do you surround yourself with negative nancies, complaining addicts and or gossips?
Obviously no one is expecting anyone to be happy all the time or grateful all the time and to not have low days and periods of stress and anxiety. That’s just life.
But if you’re constantly spending time with people who complain a lot, who like to gossip and tear others down, who are constantly focusing on all that is going wrong in their lives – their negative energy will affect you no matter how strong and positive you are.
4. How Interesting You Are
What makes a person interesting?
I would say that a person is interesting if they have something of value to teach us. Whether it be sharing their life experiences with us, teaching us a new skill, exposing us to new ideas, beliefs, foods, experiences – or simply sharing whatever wisdom they’ve picked up along the way – interesting people are fun to be around and have a tendency to whet our appetites and inspire us to do more/learn more/be more.
When we spend time with interesting people, we are exposed to new ideas and new ways of being and our psyches can’t help but undergo some sort of expansion. We leave them feeling more alive, more curious, and better read.
Oftentimes, the people we deem interesting are the ones who are different from us in some way, and who as a result, fascinate us. When we spend time with people who are different than us, we expand our horizons, learn new ways of being, and learn more about ourselves in the process. We become more self-aware. We become more open-minded. We become kinder. And we become far more interesting ourselves.
Do you spend time with fascinating people who are different from you or who make your life more interesting? Who teach you things? Who expand your mind? Who expand your heart?
5. Your Ambition and Success
This one’s pretty simple. Successful people inspire success in others.
Successful people usually have a very strong work ethic, great motivation and an insatiable drive to succeed. They are hungry for betterment, however they define success (could be becoming an incredible parent, or becoming the best CEO on the planet, or helping save the rainforest), and their actions reflect this. These kinds of people are really inspiring to be around and they make us want to be better ourselves. We see them succeed and it makes us want to succeed.
Their effective habits end up rubbing off on us. And let’s not forget the incredible value of being able to learn from our successful friends. We can chat with them about where their inner drive comes from, about what their morning routine looks like (if they have one), about their top 5 goal-crushing tips, about their 5 greatest obstacles in reaching their goals, etc. And when we hit roadblocks (as we all eventually do), we can ask them to brainstorm solutions with us.
Successful people like to hang around other successful people because they tend to have the same energy and very similar mindsets. Like attracts like.
The alternative is hanging around people who have low motivation and little drive to better themselves and their lives. These people are content with the status quo or comfortable in their discomfort. Again, no judgement necessary. To each his own. I just want you to become more aware of how your friends are affecting you, be it positively or negatively.
Making sure your life choices reflect your grand vision of the life you wish to live is critical for your joy and happiness.
Do Your Friends Reflect Your Core Values?
One way to make sure you attract the right kind of people in your life is to become really clear about your core values.
What are your core values? What do you value most in life?
My core values are connection, integrity, laughter, kindness, intimacy and health.
This means that I tend to be attracted to people who are deeply honest (with me and with themselves), who love to laugh, who value kindness, and who also value deep connection and intimacy. People who prefer to keep their relationships on the surface tend not to be attracted to me. Serious people can find my silliness annoying (a friend in college once told me very angrily that my silliness was infuriating to her). I have no time for people who like to gossip. And all my close friends have a certain level of self-awareness and are deeply interested in their personal development and growth.
So now, if you haven’t yet, take 5 minutes and make a list of your core values. Keep this list where you can see it everyday and regularly ask yourself if your life choices are in congruence with this list.
Here’s a list of core values – there are no right or wrong ones, your core values are deeply personal and are what make you, YOU!
And the list goes on and on and on. Just google “list of core values.”
It’s easy to want to put everything on your list, but it’s a lot more effective and realistic to stick to 6 if possible. Pick the 6 that most speak to you, and are most important to you.
What About Your Partner/Spouse?
Most people spend more time with their spouse than with their friends, just by virtue of living with them and being married to them.
All of the above can be applied to them too. How do you influence each other?
What activities do you engage in together? What healthy habits do you encourage in each other, or what unhealthy habits do you enable in each other?
Do you exercise together? Do you have the same eating habits and lifestyle goals? While these are definitely not a must for a healthy happy relationship, they can certainly contribute to greater health, happiness and overall relationship satisfaction.
After all, they do say that couples who exercise together, stay together. So maybe make your next date an active one – release some endorphins together – get stronger together – reach your fitness goals together.
Cook together. Laugh together. Support each other in attaining your individual and partnership goals. Uplift each other. Deeply connect with each other. Be vulnerable with each other.
And if you’re not partnered yet – when the time comes, choose someone who will have a positive influence on you – who will inspire you to grow your heart, grow your mind and expand your consciousness.
Remember, you’ve only got this one and precious life. Who will you spend it with?