Great friends: you can grow separately without growing apart. You can have comfortable silence and long phone calls about nothing and have a whole conversation with just one look. You don’t worry about cleaning your house before they come over or how you look without makeup on.
The friends you have growing up have the potential to greatly influence your personal development. You look to them for approval and support and you spend more time with them at school than you do with your family.
You have probably heard it before, you can tell a lot about someone by knowing who they keep as friends.
If you take a look at your friends, you will see the major influencers in who you currently are.
Friendships are created on the basis of common values. You are friends with people you feel comfortable with and those that support your self image.
Sometimes friends can hinder your growth by being discouraging of pursuing a challenge or keeping you tied to destructive habits. Friends like those may not be supportive or predictable but in a roundabout away, they can still help you become a better, happier person.
How well chosen are you friends?
1) Do you feel good about yourself with your friends?
Become consciously aware of your mood when you’re around your friends. Good friends will share with you what you need to know when you don’t want to hear it. These friends will tell you when you have something stuck in your teeth or that you have makeup smudged on your face. Others may express their disapproval of you and when this happens too often, your self esteem may suffer.
2) Do you feel good about your friends?
Would you consider your friends good people? Do you like them? It’s not unusual to spend time with people for reasons such as habit, convenience, lack of alternatives or feelings of obligation. If you moved away, are these people you would stay friends with? Being away for long periods certainly tests friendships and you realise that your real friends are those that keep in touch with you, while others see to cease to exist prominently.
3) Do your friends support your aspirations?
Are all your friends of the same gender and outlook? Do you know them all from your schooldays or from your neighbourhood or social class? If so, they may be subconsciously acting to keep you consistent with their sense of identity. I have found that I have a lot of guy friends, perhaps because I find them to generally be more adventurous and active than a lot of my female friends but that’s not to say that I don’t hold a great bunch of females close to the heart.
4) Givers and takers
Good friends offer mutual support and growth. Some friends leave you feeling better or worse. Do they dump their problems on you? Tell you what you can’t do? These are people that drain your energy and it would be beneficial to limit how often you see them. Friendships should be balanced and mutual support and growth should be the norm. You share the role of the speaker and the listener and are there for each other.
There’s nothing wrong with having long familiar, predictable and unconditionally supportive friends. This can be hugely comforting. But think about all those people in the world you haven’t met. Making a new friend may help boost your quality of life.
“If friends disappoint you over and over, that’s in large part your own fault. Once someone has shown a tendency to be self-centered, you need to recognize that and take care of yourself; people aren’t going to change simply because you want them to.” – Oprah Winfrey