Thursday, June 14, 2018

6 Reasons Why You Should Be Picky With The Friends You Choose

"Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them."
-W. Clement Stone

Believe or not, your friends, especially if you spend a lot of time with them, can affect your life significantly. Friends can influence so many factors of your life, from your habits to your mood to your motivation to succeed and more! Yes, we all have our own minds and think for ourselves, but we can't ignore that environmental factors, such as friends, influence the way that we think and our perspective on the world, too, which is one of the many reasons why you should be picky about who your friends are.  Here, I'll explain 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Picky With The Friends You Choose.

1.) They're part of your support system.

They're your support system, and you should be picky about who is in your support system! Imagine this: you have great news. Like, really great news. You finally got into the school that you want or got that dream job or someone actually wants to invest in your business idea (or whatever your best case scenario is). You're excited and happy. You immediately call one of your closest friends. You tell them the amazing news...and to your surprise, you're greeted with negativity. Maybe it's a scoff, followed by a, "Wow, what a waste of time and/or money." Or "You should be doing something better." How would you feel then? Probably crappy, right? Exactly.

Do you have someone that makes you feel this way constantly? Maybe they're not as blatant with it, maybe they're saying little things to make you feel bad all the time. If so, they're probably not the person to be in your support system. You want to know why? Because words are powerful. If you have a nagging voice in the background saying that you can't do it, you're going to start believing that you can't do it.

On the other hand, if you had close friends that are constantly telling you that you can do it, you're going to start believing that you can do it. And, when there are the times where you feel like you can't continue, they'll be there to pick you up to keep you going. That way, you'll be motivated to achieve your goals even when you're not feeling so great. Your support system is a powerful tool; don't underestimate it.

2.) Peer pressure.

We've all been told by our parents to not to fall into peer pressure, but believe it or not, people fall into peer pressure all the time. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adolescents can feel pressured to do something just because their friends are doing it too. And, I'm pretty sure you can relate to this even now (assuming you're not a teenager anymore). I know this only specifies teens, but, despite popular belief, peer pressure affects adults, too, not just kids and teenagers.

And, peer pressure isn't all bad. Peer pressure can be positive. For example, if you saw that your friends were doing well and pursuing their dreams, you'll be motivated to pursue your dreams, too, because you have a real-life example of pursuing your dreams is worth it. On the other hand, If you see that your friends aren't really doing much to improve, you'll be less likely to be motivated to improve your situation, too.

3.) The wrong friends can make you be counterproductive.

I kind of touched upon this in the previous points. If your friends are supportive and encouraging you constantly, you're going to have a strong support system behind you to encourage you to keep going on your journey! If your friends are telling you that your dreams and goals are stupid and unreachable, you might dismiss your dreams and goals as such and continue working on other things that stray away from your goals. If they aren't motivated to make a better life for themselves, you'll be less likely to be motivated to make a better life for yourself.

4.) Your friendships can affect your mental and physical health.

According to, a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan found that people who had "enjoyable" friendships were less likely to develop serious illnesses later in life than those who had friendships that were stressful. In fact, a 2010 study supports this finding. These "enjoyable" friendships can actually increase your lifespan by lowering your cortisol levels and reducing stress. In another experiment, 2,000 people in the Netherlands aged over 65 were surveyed. The survey asked these people if they felt lonely and were checked up on three years later. Those who answered yes that they were lonely were twice as likely to develop dementia than those who didn't. I want to emphasize that the survey asked if they felt lonely, not if they were alone.

5.) Your friends can affect your habits.

Want to develop a new habit? Get a friend or a couple of friends that already have that habit. We all subconsciously learn by example. These "examples" I'm referring to are the people that you spend the most time with. It isn't just your friends, but your family, too. If we see someone else doing something consistently, we may pick up their habit unknowingly. You ever hear a phrase only your friend would say and after hanging out with them for a couple of months, you pick up that phrase, too? Or, you have your parent's annoying habit that you swore against? Exactly. Developing a habit that you want to get from someone else works the same way - a lot of time with them and it'll happen what seems to be magically. But, since you know that you want to develop this habit, you're going to have to be more conscious about the habit than just simply picking up slang.

6.) You're the average of the five people spend the most time with.

Jim Rohn has famously said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you survey the five people that you spend the most time with, you'll see that you and those five people have a similar mindset, have similar habits, and most likely have a similar income. And, between everything that I just told you, does that really surprise you? After all, your friends influence you through peer pressure, affect your habits and health, and are a huge role in your support system. If you choose to surround yourself with people that have great habits, pursue their dreams and are positive and successful, chances are you have great habits, pursue your dreams, and are positive and successful, too. You'll be more motivated to achieve these things since you'll have real-life examples that show you that it is possible.

If you want to be successful, spend time with successful people. If you want to be more confident, surround yourself with confident people. If you want to be more positive, surround yourself with people who think positively. Whatever you want to become, surround yourself with people who are just like that. You don't have to drop the friends that you have made over the years even if you don't necessarily want to be like them; you just need to spend more time with people that are who you want to become.

With that said, it's your responsibility to surround yourself with the right people. I agree that some relationships are more natural than others because like attracts like. If you want to make connections with people who are where you want to be, you may actually need to exert some effort to make this happen. But, don't worry, it's not as hard as you think it is! I'll write a blog post on How to Find the Right People for You. Subscribe for emails from Root for Growth to get the latest updates!

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Read how your friends affect your habits, motivation to better yourself, mental health, and success. Once you find your friendship tribe that supports you, you'll achieve friendship goals.

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