If you hang around 5 idiots, you’ll be the 6th.
If you hang around 5 intelligent people, you’ll be the 6th.
If you hang around 5 millionaires, you’ll be the 6th.
If you hang around 5 confident people, you’ll be the 6th.
If you hang around 5 broke people, you’ll be the 6th.
The company you keep
Whether you are an alcoholic trying to quit booze, a fat guy trying to lose weight, unconfident guy who is trying to find his confidence, whatever the change you’re trying to do most likely the friends you have won’t like it or be helpful in reaching your goals. Most likely they will be straight up harmful.
Why is this? Well let’s go with the alcoholic example since it’s a clear one; if you are an alcoholic your friends are most likely alcoholics, like seeks like it’s just a law of the universe. When you try to quit drinking it will expose your friends own limitations and the fact that they should quit too. Since they don’t want to quit they will try and convince you that you don’t need to quit, you are fine as you are, because they want to believe that of themselves. Now let’s say you succeed and quit drinking, it’s going to lead to quite a few of positive changes in your own life, better health, losing weight, better confidence and mood etc. and your friends will see that you did something they all deep down want to do, but can’t or haven’t yet done. Since they lack confidence they won’t be able to be happy for you, but will instead become jealous and angry.
These two reasons, hampering change and being bitter if you do change, leads to the fact that you will most likely need to change friend groups along with your own personal growth. Of course you can direct them towards this blog or other resources, but don’t expect them to be able to do what you are doing. Change takes time and lot of mental strength and people might need to gather it for a while before they hit the threshold that they can make it happen. It’s also possible your friend group is already a great one and you are catching up or rising slightly up from being slightly below. In these cases you should find your friends being supportive and encouraging, in which case you are probably in the right company.
Cutting people out of your life
Now if you are in a situation where when you talk about the changes you want to make, and talk you should, you don’t get support and encouragement you will need to make some changes. Firstly you need to identify which friends or groups are the problem and think what the common ground with them is. What caused you to start spending time with them and what you do together. If the reason you spend time together is counterproductive in some way, all the more reason to cut them out and find friends you can do other things with. If you can identify the reason and the common group it helps immensely when judging what kind of group and how useful it is to keep in your life.
You will also most likely find people who are toxic in some other ways that should be cut. Maybe they cause or have drama in their lives and you are the vent of that. Being supportive is part of a friendship, but if the scales tip too far in one direction you should try to save yourself and seek more fruitful friendships. It’s pointless to tie yourself to an anchor when they are going to the bottom, to continue the metaphor, find some balloons on their way to the top and you can rise with them.
You will most likely have a lot of mental package tying yourself to these people so your mind will find a lot of reasons why the situation is fine. However like the needy girl/boyfriend who doesn’t trust you no matter what you do, these kinds of relationships do drain you and hamper your own journey. Change is always hard, it’s hard enough with support, and it’s even harder when you are lacking that or in the worst case have people trying to hold you back.
Example or two from my life
I personally have noticed this two times in my life. Once when I moved cities and once when I accidentally found a new friend group, maybe these examples will clarify the situation for more edge cases instead of the alcoholic example.
Around 2012 I moved to a whole new city. I got a job offer which I couldn’t refuse and I already was dating a girl from the city. I had a friend group there through her, making the move a pretty easy decision. This caused me to lose touch with many friends I had in the town I had lived most of my life, and reduce contact with many others there. It’s not that there was anything particularly wrong with the people who I left behind, but many of them were products of their environment. Growing up in a smallish town (around 30k), which did effect their opinions and their direction in life which never meshed with mine very well. This rather simple change to a new friend group caused me to get away from people who were holding me back in many ways, people who were toxic. Perhaps they tended towards violence easier, drank a bit more and did small town stuff, which is fine if you like that, but I really don’t. It’s quite hard to describe why the move was a huge deal for my personal growth, but I moved from an environment which didn’t function like I did, into an environment that did.
Now my second big switch of friend groups was actually away from the friend group I was happy to switch to when I moved, due to a very simple thing; I changed over time, they didn’t. That’s maybe the take-away here: Groups don’t change much, at least not fast, but people can. If you want to make an active change you need to switch groups too most likely. So the friend group had grown pretty stagnant, there was drama and the only past time was getting together and drinking on the weekends. Luckily I had ran into this girl on a gig, and I ended up meeting her and her friend once in another venue. After spending the evening and the next day with them. I got the idea to hitchhike to a festival together with the girl’s friend. Unfortunately she had to bail because of a previous engagement. So I grabbed another friend of mine, one of the few to survive the move mentioned and we hitchhiked to the festival knowing only this one girl who I had met 3-4 times previous. She told me she would secure us a place at her friend group’s tent village and after much mucking about we found the spot. The people I met that weekend and the people who I’ve met through those people are the people I spend my time these days. They are open, warm and supportive, a quite a big leap from the previous friend groups I’ve held in the past. Meeting them and spending time with them has enabled a lot of this personal growth I’ve been going through. I’ve also reduced drinking and they’ve been super encouraging towards that goal and it’s really easy to go out with them even if I remain sober. Things that wouldn’t have been that easy previously. That’s the power of changing friends and locale, it helps you grow quicker than anything.