Don Quixote’s quick-witted squire said, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” Although the man is fictional, the observation rings true; we are very much the company we keep. Have you ever noticed that you adopt certain traits or habits from those around you? For instance, maybe your closest friend gestures with their hands when they speak. After spending the day with them, do you find yourself mimicking those very same gestures? Perhaps a family member has a bad habit of saying “like” several times within a sentence. When you speak with them, do you catch yourself doing the same? The people you spend your time with inform your thoughts, opinions, intelligence, and even your self-esteem. Just as you choose how to spend your time, you choose your friends. Are you choosing good ones? Are the people in your circle ones you admire and respect? Do they encourage you? Teach you? Guide you? Or, when all your closest friends are together, are you the smartest person in the room?
Your Inner Circle
When we were younger, friendships could come and go so easily. Without the aches and pains of adulthood, we didn’t question the depths of these relationships. A friend just needed to make you laugh and like the same movies. As we entered adulthood, however, things shifted. Suddenly, life was a bit more complicated and required more deeply rooted relationships. We started to weed out those who couldn’t be there for us. Or at least, we should’ve weeded those people out. But maybe you never did. Maybe you’re running circles through your life, still playing the same games with the same old crowd. How would you know? When is the last time you seriously considered your friend group?
Analyzing Your Relationships
There are a few questions you should ask yourself as you reflect upon your current relationships.
- Do they encourage me to reach my goals? Do they help when they can?
A quality friend will want to see you succeed, and they will not stand in the way of that. If you made a goal to quit drinking, a good companion will support that choice, not guilt you into splitting a bottle of wine at dinner.
- Are they successful? Are they striving toward their own goals?
If your friends are just “getting by,” without any motivation, they won’t be able to fully support you as you change and evolve. Think how exciting and fulfilling it would be to have relationships that are constantly striving for more? How inspiring to watch someone you love and care about achieve their goals. How much more would it encourage you to keep reaching for your own?
- What do you admire about them?
If this is not an easy question to answer, then it may be time to move on from this relationship. Having people in your life with qualities that you respect is so vital because habits—whether good or bad—are easily transferable. Wouldn’t it be better to mimic someone’s determination and drive rather than their sluggishness?
Perhaps it’s time for a shift where your relationships are concerned. If your friends aren’t helping you to grow, then it’s time to level up. Creating an inner circle should be an intentional process, not happenstance and circumstance. By actively choosing people you admire and respect, you can ensure your growth. Not only will these new friends encourage you to continue moving forward, but they will also hold you accountable. By leveling up, you can expect to grow your intelligence, cultivate better habits, and become a better person overall.
Booker T. Washington said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” If you must do it alone for a while, so be it. Standing still is preferable to being dragged down. However, spend your time actively seeking out those who can build you up. Put yourself in rooms with people you admire and see what happens! Watch how you thrive. Like it or not, our friends tell the story of who we are. Make sure they are telling a good one.