Heard the saying ‘Friends are the family we choose for ourselves’ or ‘show me your friends and I will tell you the type of person you are’? These two sayings sum up almost all that you need to know about the impact your friends have on your life. Your friends help depict the way you are, what you think and what are your standards in life. Despite the fact that you don’t get the option to choose your family (other than exceptions), you do always have a choice to choose the people you want to be with outside your family.
Just like ‘birds of a feather flock together’, similarly you hang out with people you have something in common with or with people you want to be associated with. Therefore, your selection of friends determines how your life is going to be like. If you have made the right friends, you’re good to go.. but if you don’t, you might end up in a bad situation. Hence, it is important for you to determine how many of those friends are actually your real friends and how many of them are worth being a part of your life. So, let’s look into 3 simple points that might help you evaluate your friendships. This will aid you in not only determining the quality of your current friendships, but also help you to get an idea regarding how to evaluate your future friendships.
- Understand The Need For Friends
It is important to understand why people even make friends. You might even ask why should you care to know when you are perfectly happy in your friendships.. well you need to know because you deserve better! You need honest people in your life who would love you for who you are as a person and not for how you look, what you wear, what your social status is etc.. You need people who would accept your flaws and stand with you through thick and thin! I’m sure you must have heard such a statement a billion times before, but really.. how many times have you actually given it a thought and actually reflected upon your friendships?
The English dictionary describes a friend as: A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
How many of your friends do you have this bond with? Do you have affection towards your friends or do you just hang out and spend time with them just for the sake of it?
You need to look for friends because you need companions who will aid you in your life goals, who have similar strengths but not the same weaknesses as you have. For example, if your strength is your honesty, make honest friends. This will motivate you to be more honest. On the contrary, if you both have a common weakness, you both will end up submitting to your weakness instead of fighting it off and this might end up making the problem worse. For example, if your weakness is your drinking problem, don’t make friends with the same problem.
Humans are social animals. They like to interact and be with other humans in order to live a happy life. Perhaps, friends are one of the closet human relationships that we all have. So be sure to understand their importance in your life and be certain to choose the right friends.
2. Be Specific. Why Though?
You might be so particular about what you eat and what you wear, when you go shopping you try to buy the best possible outfit for yourself or at least the outfit you find appealing. Right? When you go to a restaurant, you order something you enjoy eating. Or do you order anything without thinking? Most certainly you do order what you like. So, you choose every single thing in your life according to what you like and what you want. Then why is it so that you might not be so specific about who you spend time with?
You need to be extremely selective regarding your choice of friends. This doesn’t mean that you are superior to anyone or you don’t believe in giving people a chance; it just means that you need to find your own crowd (flock) so that you can connect with those people naturally, without trying to fit in. Friends shape the way people think, feel and act. Therefore, friends can make or break a person!
Have you ever noticed that sometimes people want to be your friend because maybe you can help them get somewhere in life? Perhaps you can help them in their career, help them climb the social ladder or they might feel that being with you will just make them feel accepted in the society they want to be a part of. This list goes on, but in short, they are your friends for any reason other than being with you because they like you as a person and enjoy your company.
So why should you even accept such friends? Such friends will one day or the other abandon you if they think that you can no longer serve their purpose. You need to value yourself more and understand what kind of friends you really need and deserve.
3. Avoid the Toxic Ones. But How Can You Tell?
Most of your friends in general might seem pretty harmless. You just spend time with them when you want to relax. So what they feel internally doesn’t matter because at the end of the day you just want company and someone to talk with. Right? Well they aren’t as harmless as you think they are and spending time with them does a lot more damage than you think it can.
Toxic friends bring out the worst in one’s personality. A toxic friend can make you feel insignificant and will disregard your problems as being petty. They will never be there for you and they can completely change you into someone you might have despised before. Toxic friends set you off from everything good that you want to achieve in life and make wrong things/actions normal for you. They might even make you adopt all the qualities that are anything other than what your family and upbringing instilled in you. They will never support you behind your back and will always ask you for favors. In short, they will never be there for you. Toxic friends teach you that it is ok to be: Immoral, irrational, fake, negative and unkind.
On the other hand, healthy friendships help you grow and become a better version of yourself with each passing day. They teach you to be: honest, well mannered, up right, and loyal. Good friends tell you when you go wrong and make you understand how your bad actions can lead to a bad outcome. They appreciate you when you achieve something in life and they never take you for granted. They support you through thick and thin, value you for who you are and always want good for you.
“The way of life of each person accords with the faith and religion of his friend and companion” and indeed it is true when said “As our body is nourished by food to gain strength, so also our spirit acquires virtue or vice by association with good or bad friends” Similarly, having the wrong company can lead one to wrong, whereas the opposite is also true.
You shouldn’t surround yourself with people who don’t appreciate you, who make you lose your good traits and make you inherit their bad qualities. When you see someone you want to befriend, remember that you will most likely end up behaving exactly like him/her subconsciously or consciously. Think about it, when you were in school, you used to get better grades whenever you used to sit with the smart kids. On the contrary, if your friends bunk classes, most likely you would have had too. Therefore having the wrong kind of friends can most definitely hinder your growth in life.
If you feel your choices are wrong, you need to rethink and reevaluate those decisions and try working towards finding better people in your life.
Now Think What’s Common
If you want to figure out the quality of your friendship, try this simple exercise.
Firstly, think of 5 characteristics that you would want in a friend. A good friend.
Now, think of the person you want to befriend or are friends with, and think of the three prominent characteristics in their personality.
Your friendship is actually something you might be able to work on if even 2 out of the 3 of the characteristics that they have are a part of the 5 you need. However, if none of them are inline with the 5 you need, just know it is time to leave and find better friends, or wait till someone nice comes across.
Look into who your friends are no matter how old your friendship is. It is time to reevaluate and detox in order to live a better life.
So ask yourself these questions today:
What did you learn or take from your friendship?
What kind of impact did they have on your personality and preferences? Were you able to grow positively in life after you met them? Or did you develop a negative attitude towards everything?
Are you happy about how they influenced your life or do you feel that you can do better?
Can you trust him/her? Are they honest, loyal and truthful to you?
‘Solitude is better than a bad companion and good companion is better than solitude’. Hence, try to spend time with the right company. Moreover, it is not important how many friends you have. You can have one, few or many.. but what really matters is whether the friendship is of good quality or not (always remember quality is better than quantity).
True friends correct you, they never let you do wrong to yourself or to others. Therefore, you should too, be a good friend and never be scared to speak up for the truth and for the right thing. ‘The true friend is only he who regards his friend in three situations: ordeal, absence, and death’.
So my dear human fellow “Try to have as many as possible true friends, for they are the supplies in joy and the shelters in misfortunes”. For now even 1-2 good friends will do as nowadays it is extremely difficult to find such genuine friends around. Be confident and be strong! Know what you want in a friendship! And don’t settle for less. Your friends determine your thinking patterns and your choices in life. They help shape you internally and externally. Their influence has a huge impact on your well being so always give importance to making the right choice while selecting friends and be ready to discard the people from your life who wish no good for you.
P.s. Be the kind of friend you expect your friends to be. God has this way of making the right people cross your path if you sincerely wish for genuine people around. So look within first before identifying the flaws of your friends. Once you work on yourself, you will automatically be able to distinguish between right and wrong company. From there on, you will be able to grow and find the right friends for yourself.
Love and Peace.