The friendships in your life reveal a lot about who you are. If you’re hanging out with successful people, there’s a good chance that you are (or will become) successful as well. If you’re hanging out with people who aren’t motivated to do much with their lives, you’ll probably end up following suit. This is known as the Social Proximity Effect, and what it comes down to is simple: If you want to build good habits, you need to be surrounded by people who already practice them.
Your intuition is your best guide: If a friendship feels wrong, that’s probably because it is. There are also some qualities to look for that the right crowd will always have … here are five of them.
They support you.
This isn’t just in reference to the kind of supporters who pat you on the back after you lose and then go on with life. The people you surround yourself with should want to see your success as much as their own—if not more. They’re the ones who will be with you the whole way, doing backflips (not literally) and cheering you on as you pursue even your wildest dreams. When things don’t go your way, they’re right there helping you find a new route to success.
They’re smart and ambitious.
Confucius once said, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” We often shy away from hanging out with people who are “smarter” than us simply because we fear feeling inferior. But what if you made a point to hang out with these people more? Think about it—they have the ability push you out of your comfort zone and help you learn new things. If knowledge is power, then surrounding yourself with people who have a wealth of it is key.
The right people are positive.
Life is too short to spend it with people who aren’t filling your cup. In this Harvard Gazette™ article on having happy friends, a study found that when an individual is happy, the network effect can be measured up to 3 degrees. This means that one person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that not only benefits their own friends, but their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends (and so on). In a sense, positivity is truly contagious. Spending time around people who love life can impact all of the relationships you have in your life (and some people you may not even know) for the better. How cool is that?
They listen to you.
Listening is a big part of mutual respect in any relationship. Not only should you listen to others, but stop for a moment and consider whether they tend to listen to you. If you’re always the shoulder to cry on or the buddy that gets problems dumped on them without any regard for how your life is going, it may be time to examine whether the relationship is healthy. This article is a great reminder of what makes a great listener if you (or someone else) could use a little work in this area.
They make you feel good about yourself.
Researchers have found that one thing is true for people of all ages: Positive social relationships help the development of a good self-image. The best kinds of friendships are the ones that build you up and make you feel like your best self. More than that, they push you to focus on bettering yourself in a loving, supportive way. Strive to find good people who are going to compliment you, not compete with you. Truly great relationships are the ones where everyone wins.
The company you keep sets the tone for so many other aspects of your life. Be sure to surround yourself with the most positive, supportive people possible. You might be surprised to find how much good it adds to your life.
Looking for more ways to better yourself? Read our blog post on “Five Things Successful People Tell Themselves.”