I felt this huge urge not to write this post. A lot of people I don’t hang out with anymore might assume this about them. First, I want to start off by saying that I hope none of them take it personal, because I didn’t write this about just one person. I stopped hanging out with a lot of people. Over the past six months of my life, I have been consistently happy, stress-free, motivated, inspired, and determined in chasing my goals. During the same time, the amount of people I hung out with went from about fifty friends to only five. This is what I’ve learned along the way.
My whole life I spent a lot of time hanging out with other people and listening to their advice when to think of it most of them were never in the position to give any. Since I’ve stopped speaking and hanging out with these individuals, I have realized the following four things.
- I have a stronger sense of self. I know exactly who I am, and I am not influenced by any of my peers.
- The relationships that were supportive and making me better got stronger, because I now had more time to invest in them.
- I am only involved in conversations that I genuinely am interested about as opposed to being caught in meaningless conversation or gossip.
- I am a magnet to like-minded, intellectual, and positive people.
You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with most.
I’m quite confident you have all heard that quote before. It’s true. We are all products of our environment, so whomever you hang out with strongly affects you. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with the kind of people who will empower you. Sometimes, I hate to say it, but you have to fire your friends. It’s a terrible sounding thing, and I don’t mean to say it in a cruel way; but periodically, you have to evaluate your life and say…
- Who am I spending the most time with?
- Who are the people that build me up and accept helpful critics?
- Who are the people who drag me down?
- Who are the people that put me in a bad state?
Bad company corrupts good character.
When you want change, you must evaluate your life and take note of your current situation. There are some relationships that must go – they are literally nothing more than space holders and dead weight. Unfortunately, most are blinded by loyalty and feel the need to hang on to those who have been in their lives for a long time. The truth is, we all change; we all evolve. If you are still associating with the same groups of people during your evolution, they had better be evolving and growing with you. Unfortunately, most of the people in the world (51% or more from my knowledge) don’t evolve. Instead, they are afraid of change. How can one who is ready for change continue to parlay with one who wants nothing to do with growth and progression?
When I went through this drastic change in my life, I went back and hung out with my old friends. I could immediately sense old patterns. Things were the same with our group – with the exception of one person. I was not particularly close with this individual. As a group, we hung out all the time because we had the same friends. Outside the group, we wouldn’t talk on the phone or text.
I had spent three months away from all my friends, and this was the first time we hung out as a group. They could sense my change, but couldn’t appreciate it. They just tried to bring me back to my old habits. To my surprise, the friend I wasn’t close to acknowledged and appreciated my change. He was fascinated with what I had learned and wanted to evolve with me. Sometimes, you do need to fire your friends, but other times you need to hire the ones you didn’t think were worth the job.
To deal with cutting ties, I spent time focusing on my own and not reaching out to anybody. Thankfully, none of them reached out to me. I didn’t ignore anybody, but I didn’t go out of my way to speak to anyone, either. Most of the time you can fire friends. Other times, the person you need to limit time with isn’t necessarily someone who can be fired. Take for example my brother – who I have no problem speaking about because he’s obligated to be friends with me. We go through cycles where we are perfectly in sync and others where we can’t stand each other; this happens to all the siblings.
I can’t just cut my brother out of my life – he’s family. But sometimes, family is toxic to you. When you notice conversations becoming negative and limiting, you have to begin to distance yourself from that energy. For example, my brother was the type that would say, “Well if it’s too good to be true it….” You know how the rest goes. I couldn’t stand that. So instead of firing family, I just limit to time I spent with them.
All in all, if you don’t grow, you die. And, if the people around you aren’t growing with you, they are only holding you back. Sometimes, you have to make selfish decisions, because no one else in this world is going to make that decision for you. You need to worry about you. Don’t be spiteful, don’t be rude, just be focused. It’s in everyone’s best interest to clean out your friend closet every once in a while. Sometimes a friendship is just sucking the life out of you. Some friendships form negative roots and become unsustainable. It is exhausting.
Look around – you’re not alone. Many people will keep their friends in their life just because they have been around for a long time. Trust me, it’s hard to take a step back and really look at whether or not these long time friends are enhancing you or hurting you. I promise you, that once you decide to cut those toxic connections from your life, your world will instantly start to refresh itself.