There’s no doubt that the people around us help determine the course of our lives, whether directly or indirectly.
Think of the fashion trends, slang, and behaviors you’ve learned from the influential people around you.
Even the most independent people can be influenced if they hang out with a crowd that doesn’t support them.
Does who you surround yourself with impact you that much?
Let’s explore the question and the answers.
How Important Are the People You Surround Yourself With?
A bad influence. The rotten egg. The go-getter. The party planner. We all have friends and loved ones that fall into particular personality silos.
Entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn stated:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Your closest allies are important for several reasons.
- Humans are social creatures. We are designed to interact, procreate, and foster humanity for centuries to come.
- We need to see beyond the limits of our minds. Those around us give alternate viewpoints, new information, and encouraging words.
- You want to be your best self. If you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll be in the fast lane to positivity in your own life.
- You’ll make the biggest decisions of your life with this crowd. Every group of friends has the first person to buy a house or get divorced. Much like the President has a cabinet of advisors, this is your cabinet, and their opinions will be part of your decision-making process.
You Are Who You Surround Yourself With
Notable researcher, Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, claims, “The people you associate with determine 95% of your success or failure in life.”
Too many people think we are victims of our surroundings and don’t see the choices made with every interaction, text, or phone call.
Here are some reasons why who you surround yourself with is who you become.
1. Energy Levels
We feed off the energy of the sun, the air, and the people around us. We absorb the closest energy, even if it’s not the healthiest.
As much as you inhale air pollution, you absorb the atmosphere people around you create. The less self-aware you are, the more likely you will be affected.
Find people who exude positivity, grit, relentless quality control, and habitual compassion.
2. Guilt By Association
The question here isn’t if this is a fair assumption. It’s just the truth for the majority of society. Others observe and categorize us when they see our own assets and the value of the assets around us – including friends.
There are even some jobs that require in-depth background checks and integrity reviews. If you want to clerk for an attorney, they’ll know if your bestie has three DUIs or if your cousin’s band is known for salacious activity.
3. Level of Professionalism
It has long been said to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. How we put our image out in the world is directly related to how we behave in all aspects of life.
That spotlight has grown broader and brighter with the advent and takeover of social media.
Do your colleagues want to see social media pictures of you taking tequila shots, even if someone coerced you to leave the house when you just wanted to go to bed early? So much of our social lives are on a stage, like it or not.
4. Habit Influences
When exposed to good or bad habits, we tend to want to “join the crowd” of the people around us.
It could be as positive as a friend who makes you get up early to go workout or as negative as a friend who offers a cigarette when you are stressed out.
It just takes one look at 80’s photos of Aqua Net vapors and hair five inches high to see how habits form between friends.
5. Not Wanting to Be Alone
Humans, by a large percentage, will avoid doing things alone, like going to dinner or seeing a movie in the theater. We like socializing in groups.
When choosing between doing something alone or doing something with a friend, even if you don’t like the activity, most people choose to do the unwanted activity. This shapes our circle of knowledge and interests.
6. Behaviors and Values
We learn socially acceptable behaviors from the trusted people around us. This might be calling in sick when you aren’t really sick or starting the Keto diet because your circle of friends is doing it. We adapt to our surroundings.
Find people who behave in public and behind closed doors with those that match your values, beliefs, and attitudes.
7. Common Interests
We find friends in places and with people who share common interests. It might be a friend from a book club or a new workout partner at the gym.
Our internal nature to fit in and be accepted is found in the low-hanging fruit of our commonalities. How many of your current friendships begin with “We used to…”? “We used to live in the same dorm,” “We used to work at the same restaurants,” etc.
People change and adapt to stages of life, and certain friendships that once made sense might not anymore, especially when the dynamics of personalities and other behaviors change in ways that don’t align with our new goals.
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11 Ways to Surround Yourself with Good People
You’re probably thinking, “But I love my tribe! They are all unique and wonderful.” There is nothing wrong with enjoying life-long or long-term friendships, but there might come a time when a friendship no longer serves or supports you.
You also have no limit on how many friends you can have. It’s just important for your immediate circle to be filled with good people.
1. Set Boundaries
Every relationship we ever have needs to have good boundaries. It might be not socializing in the bar scene on work nights or insisting on not hanging out with people who use recreational drugs.
It doesn’t matter how fun someone is if they are breaking your personal boundaries for self-love.
2. Offer and Expect Support
Anyone can be a good friend when you’re living a high life and succeeding in your work and personal life. You want people who will be there in your darkest moment and love you just the same.
If you have friends who ghost when the going gets tough, only to resurface when you’ve recovered, it might be time to cut the ties.
3. Avoid More Drama
It seems every group of friends has the Drama Queen. The person who can make finding a parking spot feel like a national tragedy.
This energy, as we discussed above, is contagious and can drain all the good mojo you have after nailing a presentation or losing three pounds. Don’t avoid people who have challenges, but keep drama toned down in every unnecessary form.
4. Find Smarter People
A common quote is, “if you are the smartest person in the room, find another room.” Every friendship should be complementary and bring the attainment of goals to others in the circle.
You don’t want to be the Alpha (or Beta) dog in any friendship. You want mutual respect for areas you thrive in and can exemplify for others while absorbing the intelligence of your friends as well.
5. Join the Crowd
Notice that it’s a “join” the crowd, not “follow” it. Take a look at where you want to be in five years, and go there to meet people. Maybe you’re a newbie PR representative who wants to start their own agency someday.
Go to a meeting for PR professionals and make friends. You could love working out but want a more challenging experience, so you join CrossFit.
You will likely get positive influences when you meet people who go where you want to be.
6. Gravitate Toward Happy People
You know the scenario well where a group of friends is sizing up the “It Girl” in the room and picking her apart, from those “so last season” shoes to the “why is she SO happy? Ugh.”
That person has figured out something you want to achieve, so leave the Gossip Girls behind to go to the life of the party and let that energy seep in.
7. Find Positive People
Be a good observer and notice the people at work, the gym, or the coffee shop who exude positivity.
Even the people who aren’t sitting in a long line complaining about the wait and huffing and puffing have figured out a patience and acceptance trait that you might want to learn.
Churches, non-profit groups, and volunteer organizations are great places to find positive people who want to make a difference.
8. Search The Web
Instead of doomscrolling the news or TikTok scrolling unit your thumb is numb, look for people who set the example of who you want to be.
Connect with them and introduce yourself. Make a note of where they live, and the next you visit that city, offer to pay for coffee.
Spending time with people doesn’t have to be in person. You might find an Australian best friend who influences your life positively with your bi-weekly chats and ongoing text messages.
9. Educate Yourself
Take a community college class on a topic that has always interested you, and just wait until you see the people you meet.
You can find a more diverse and inclusive group of new friends that share a passion and bring a different generational aspect to your life.
10. Listen Closely
Listen to them closely, whether it’s a new friend or a long-time buddy. Do you (still) hold the same values? Are you in different mindsets that just don’t jive?
Because someone is similar to us, we assume they bring value to our lives, and that’s not always true. We can also subconsciously adapt to the change in our friends, for better or worse.
11. Make Room
Too many people hold onto toxic friendships or relationships because confronting someone is hard. You don’t want to hurt feelings, and you certainly don’t want a scene or a blast of social media passive-aggressiveness.
Say it with me, “I deserve to be around people who support me and build me up. I do not have room for people who bring me down with negative or toxic energy.”
Yes, it’s hard. It’s harder to spend years of wasted time being dragged down by negativity or dangerous influences.
There was no rule that if you met someone in Kindergarten and lived down the street from them, you had to stay friends with them forever.
You also don’t have to kick them out of your life with an invisible “No Trespassing” sign. The point is about who you surround yourself with most often.
Make a choice every morning between going out or working out. Decide if you want to be stagnant or have wind beneath your wings.
What’s even more important than surrounding yourself with positive people? Be a positive person others want to be around too.