4 Important Benefits Of Surrounding Yourself With Good Friends
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- You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. It is therefore imperative that you surround yourself with positive influences only because who you surround yourself with is who you become.
- Good friends are those friends that bring out only the best in you. They encourage you to become a better you and spur you on to that goal. Read on to find out other important qualities of a good friend.
- There are many benefits to surrounding yourself with the right people and having only good friends. These range from health, to physical and social benefits.
- If your friends are not the right type, you need to reevaluate your friends’ circle and surround yourself with positive influences.
Friendships are the other social relationships we form outside of our family. A 2010 meta-analysis of 148 studies revealed that people with stronger social relationships are 50% more likely to survive for longer than people with weak social relationships. And this is because of the health benefits linked to maintaining healthy social relationships, amongst which is included friendship.
According to a Gallup 2004 study, 39% of the average American keeps between 3 – 5 close friends. And according to the same source, the Anthropologist Robert Dunbar found that there is a limit to how many meaningful relationships the human brain can keep track of. And for close friends, it can keep track of as much as 15. This is effectively 15 or fewer people who have the potential to guarantee our success or limit it.
How many friends does the average American have? (2004) Source: Gallup
Limits to how many meaningful relationships the human brain can keep track of. Source: www.goodtherapy.org
Associating with people and making friends is important. But more important, is the quality of those friends and whether they bring positive and good benefits to your life. The popular entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with. It, therefore, becomes very important that our circle of friends are good quality friends that bring only good benefits to our lives and contribute to our overall success.
In this article, we look at the value, importance, and benefits of surrounding yourself with good friends. Knowing the benefits, however, is not enough. It is also important to be able to identify the qualities of a good friend who will bring you these positive benefits so that you are able to reassess the friendships in your life. And if then you need to change some or all of your friends, to know how to surround yourself with the right ones. And this article will answer all these questions.
WHO IS A GOOD FRIEND?
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Good friends have a role to play in how far we go in life and ultimately how successful we become. A good friend, therefore, is that friend that brings out the best in us and performs a catalytic function in propelling us towards success.
QUALITIES OF A GOOD FRIEND.
According to a 2013 study, 81% of Americans found loyalty to be high on the list of the qualities of a good friend. Also high on that list is someone who will always be there in times of crisis. And according to 41% of Americans in the same study, they believed they were good friends who stood with their friend(s) in tough times, while 11% worried that their friends would abandon them in a crisis.
Qualities of a Good Friend in the United States (2013) Source: Statista
Statements about Friendship in the United States (2013) Source: Statista
While these are some qualities of a good friend, they are not all the qualities that a good friend should have. In addition to these qualities (which we also explain below), a good friend should have the following additional qualities:
Good friends have positive energy and a positive mindset.
A good friend carries positive energy. They have a positive mindset, and even in difficult times, they remain positive. When you are going through a tough time, it is a good friend who is there to show you the silver lining and lift your spirit so that you do not stay beat down.
A friend who is always proclaiming doom and making you anxious or worried, or who always sees only the negative is not a good influence or a good friend to keep around. They will certainly take you down the negativity road with them. And a negative mind rarely succeeds.
Good friends are supportive and build our confidence.
A good friend is that friend that supports you and helps build your confidence. A good friend does not have to agree with you all the time to support you. They respect and value you enough to support you even when you may not agree on the same things. A friend that puts you down or always wants to force their way on you is not a good friend but a toxic friend and a bully. Such a friendship will only drain you and lead you down a negative path.
Good friends look out for our best interests at all times.
A good friend will always look out for you and defend you if the need arises. When they have to take action or a decision that involves you, they would always consider the decision that is a win-win for both you and them. Rarely would they take a selfish or self-serving decision where your relationship with them is concerned, even if they have to suffer a little inconvenience.
Good friends have our back all the time and are loyal.
A friend who talks about you behind your back to other people is not a good friend. A good friend will never make you the subject of discussion with other people unless you are present in that discussion. When a good friend hears others speaking ill of you, they step in and silence them. They don’t join them in putting you down. That is their level of loyalty. And if your friend(s) do not do this, they are not good friends. Loyalty and trust is the cornerstone of any friendship that will stand the test of time.
Good friends help us out in times of need.
It is said that a friend in need is a friend indeed. If your friend(s) rarely assists you in your dark and down days, you need to ask yourself if they are truly your friend(s).
Good friends are successful people and push us towards achieving success in our own lives.
A good quality friend is also one who is successful at what they do. If your friends are mediocre and not doing much with their lives, then you need a change of friends. According to Confucius, “if you’re the smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong”. Without successful friends, one remains mediocre because there are no standards to aim for or limits to be pushed to. It is said, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” If your friends are average, that by extension means that you are average even if you think you are not.
And success here does not have to mean being wealthy. Success here means excelling and doing well and being ahead in whatever sphere they are in. So for instance, if you’re both in school, your friend should be in the top 10% of your class; that is a successful friend. If you both work in an industry, he should be one of the top performers in his/her workplace.
This quality is really important because, without successful friends, it is only a matter of time before our mediocre friends drag us down to their level of mediocrity.
Good friends are a positive influence.
This is closely related to number 6. If your friends are successful, they will automatically become a positive influence on you.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FRIENDS AND 4 IMPORTANT BENEFITS OF SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH GOOD FRIENDS.
When you critically evaluate the friendships in your life, can you say with confidence that your friends pass the test of being good friends? Do they have all the important qualities of a good friend? It is important that we surround ourselves with good friends because who you surround yourself with is who you become. If we are the average of the 5 people we are closest to and you evaluate the life of these 5 people, do you feel comfortable and happy with being those people? Surrounding ourselves with good friends has the following 4 important benefits:
Surrounding yourself with good friends also has a discernible health impact. A study has suggested that if you’re a smoker, you have a 36% higher chance of quitting if your friends also quit smoking. The same study also stated that friends help us make healthy lifestyle choices. And when you really think about it, there can be no doubt that this is true. Think of how difficult it was for you to join the gym for example, or maybe join that dance class or perhaps start running. And then think of how much easier it became for you to do those things when your friend decided they also wanted to start the same thing. As the social animals that we are, we tend to subconsciously get influenced by the group culture. And if the group culture is toxic or bad, we are also likely to get drawn in.
A good friend will lovingly point out the destructive nature of any unhealthy lifestyle that we live and in doing so influence us towards a more healthy lifestyle. A bad friend on the other hand would do the exact opposite.
Good friends build their friends up. By inspiring confidence in you, a good friend boosts your morale, and this in turn produces immense psychological, mental, and emotional benefits. When you get motivated just by being around a good friend, these in turn release the right chemicals into your brains. You feel mentally and emotionally recharged. A negative friendship has the exact opposite – it is draining and takes its toll on you.
Material benefits and guaranteed success.
With the right friends we make the right connections and with the right connections comes success, both material and otherwise. It is popularly said that “your network is your net worth.” Who is in your circle and how would they help you grow and make the important connections that you need. The truth is that we all will need connections at one point or another in our lives, in order to make it to the next level. Good friends give you that connection, and by so doing you also from there build your own connections and hopefully help another person too. And so the cycle of fruitful networks and connections grows, making the world a better place.
When we are surrounded by good friends, we experience all-round exponential growth. There is no successful friend whose drive for success does not drive their friends to also desire and pursue success.
No one wants to be outdone by the other. Yes, we say all the time that life is no competition but we know deep down that we are competitive. If we see someone we know doing better than us, something deep inside of us stirs up to want to outdo them. It is just the way we are wired as human beings.
And it is this wiring that ought to drive us to pick our friends. If you look at your life and sense a stagnancy, chances are more likely than not that your friends are stagnant and are not challenging you at all or enough. Good friends always drive growth on all fronts. As Warren Buffet puts it, “it’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
And to end on this aspect, this beautiful quote by Tony Robbins aptly sums up the benefits of surrounding yourself with good friends:
“If we surround ourselves with people who are successful, who are forward-moving, who are positive, who are focused on producing results, who support us, it will challenge us to be more and do more and share more. If you can surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for.”
When you examine your life and your friends, can you honestly say that you have enjoyed all these benefits from your friends? If not, are you sure you still want to continue being saddled in friendships that are not leading you on the path to success?
HOW TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD FRIENDS.
Surrounding yourself with good friends will require brazen dedication and intentionality. You may find that you need to leave some relationships because they are only dragging you downwards instead of pulling you upwards. Without the dedication and intentionality we speak of, you may find it difficult to sever ties of unbeneficial friendships.
In the study whose chart we have posted on the section dealing with “The Qualities of A Good Friend”, 6% of Americans said they felt they were spending too much time with the wrong friends. The truth is even without telling us, we always know when we are spending time with the wrong crowd that would not be of any benefit to us or hanging out with friends who we know we shouldn’t be hanging out with. We almost always know, and yet we keep following the wrong crowd; we keep trying to get people to like us who we shouldn’t be bothering with.
How do you surround yourself with good friends?
- Be a good friend yourself.
Real always recognize real. If you are not a good friend you can’t be surrounded by good friends.
- Critically evaluate your friendships and ask yourself if the friends in your life are challenging you to be more successful and a better version of yourself.
- If your friends are not challenging you enough and are rather draining you consider having a conversation with them about it.
Perhaps they also don’t realize that they are not adding any value to your life or theirs for that matter. By having that conversation, you help both them and yourself.
- If after the conversation they are still not willing to change, then you have to make the difficult decision to cut them off.
It is for your own good and benefit. In this respect, it is prudent to heed the wise words of Hans F. Hansen when he said that “people inspire you, or they drain you – pick them wisely.”
ARE YOU A GOOD FRIEND?
When all is said and done, you also need to critically evaluate yourself. You need to ask yourself if you are also a good friend and have all the qualities of a good friend.
If you are not a good friend yourself, then it should not surprise you that you do not have good friends. It should not surprise you that the successful people you want to make your friends may not be interested in being your friend. Successful people have a way of picking out other successful and high-quality people. And if you don’t have the qualities of being driven to succeed, it will be difficult to attract other people who are driven to succeed. You cannot after all give what you do not have.
How can you be that good friend that attracts other successful people?
Challenge yourself even if there is nobody around to challenge you.
To do this, you need to set high goals for yourself and push yourself to achieve them. It is when you achieve those goals and attain success that you draw the attention of the successful people that you want to work with.
Build yourself up.
Whatever level you are currently on in your field, ask yourself if it is the highest level you can attain. If it isn’t, then you need to build yourself up. This could be taking online lessons or taking a certificate course. It could mean taking a small scale risk or investment. Whatever it is, do it. Build yourself up. The moment you let yourself settle, you become stagnant and stale. And no one stays around stagnant and stale people for too long.
Find mentors and follow them.
You don’t have to have a direct relationship with these mentors. You can allow mentorship indirectly by reading the books of the persons you have identified. Say for example you are interested in growing in the area of entrepreneurship, find a mentor like Warren Buffet and read his books, and apply the principles in his books. Take notes and make action points and follow through on them.
Clean out your friendship closet.
Get rid of friendships that are nothing but draining and toxic. Life is short and time waits for no one. Allowing unbeneficial friendships to fester will only waste your time and derail you from the path of the successful people whose influence you desire.
When you do all this, you will realize that without even trying too hard other people will notice you. Importantly successful people will notice you and before long, you are interacting with other successful people and getting sharpened. While you wait for that to happen, do not slack or relent in developing yourself to be another person’s good friend.
We hope that having read all this, you are spurred on to:
- Reevaluate and re-assess your friends to see if they are the kind of friends you want to be surrounding yourself with, especially if you want to be successful;
- And finally, critically evaluate your own life to see that you are that good friend that will guarantee the success of those around you. And take steps in the right direction.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
- When it comes to surrounding yourself with the right people, how can one do it?
To surround yourself with the right people you have to be intentional about it. It would need you to take the following steps:
- Be conscious of whom you are surrounded by. You are the average of the 5 people you are surrounded by;
- Surround yourself with successful people. They will drive you to success;
- Surround yourself with positive people, positive influences, and positivity. They will feed you with the positive energy that you need to make it in life and be successful;
- Focus on the good people in your life. They are the only ones that matter;
- Surround yourself with those who make you happy. Being around those who make you happy will give you the positive energy and strength you need for success;
- And finally, surround yourself with who you want to be because who you surround yourself with is who you become.
Good friends are indispensable to success in life. Good friends come with 4 important benefits – health benefits, psychological benefits, guaranteed success, and all-round exponential growth.
Who are your friends and how are they helping you grow? Re-evaluate your friendships if they are not beneficial and cut ties if need be.
And when all is said and done, also ensure that you have all the qualities of a good friend. And if you do not, take the steps outlined in this article to make yourself a good friend.
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