Monday, 10 September 2018

Surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.

Why to avoid friendships that put you under peer pressure.

Finding the right friends when you are in school can be difficult and a little frightening. In school you are assigned to a specific classroom and this can have a huge impact on your social circle. Sometimes you become friends with people and sooner or later you might realize you feel down or your self-esteem gets a knock. This means you aren’t surrounded with uplifting and positive people and you might need to make a change to your friend group. To understand more about self-esteem and build your self-confidence, check out our following blogs:

In this blog article we will discuss the following relating to the kind of friendships you need for a happy and successful school career:

1. Why you need to surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.
2. Why you need to avoid friendships that only bring you down.
3. How to surround yourself with uplifting friends.

1. Why you need to surround yourself with friends that also strive for success.

Famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” This means that if you become like the five people you spend most of your time with and four of those five people are always negative, judgemental and pessimistic, you will likely also become negative, judgemental and pessimistic. However, if you spend your time with friends that are positive, enthusiastic and optimistic, you will also become positive, enthusiastic and optimistic.

This statement powerfully relates to the concept called ‘The Law of Averages’. The Law of Averages states that the likelihood of certain events increases if the frequency is increased. Therefore if you increase the amount of time (frequency) you spend with people that has characteristics that you desire, you will eventually pick up that characteristics and become like those people. 

A study published in Psychological Science by psychological scientists Catherine Shea, GrĂ¡inne Fitzsimons, and Erin Davisson of Duke University, supports the claim that the kind of friends you have, has a very big impact on your long-term goals. They state that people with low self-control could relieve a lot of their self-control struggles by being with individuals who are known to have high self-control. This is due to the fact that the person with low self-control will be inspired by a friend with high self-control and pick up on their self-control cues to adapt their own behaviour.

It is therefore very important to surround yourself with the kind of people you admire and who inspires you. This doesn’t mean you must stop being friends with someone if they aren’t perfect. It simply means that you need to be mindful about who you spend most of your time with, and in what way they contribute to your life. If you are strong enough you can become the person to inspire and help others.

2. Why you need to avoid friendships that only bring you down.

It is clear that our friends form a great part of who we are, but this is also true for our siblings, parents and family. We will become more like the people we spend most of our time with, therefore we might need to spend less time with people that has bad influence on our self-esteem, academic performance, motivation and self-control.

We want to remind you that everyone has off-days or circumstances that makes them sad and negative. Before you simply cut people out of your life because they seem negative, evaluate the relationship carefully and have compassion with other person’s circumstances. For example, if you have a friend that has been very negative lately, evaluate the situation by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is this friend always negative, or is there something specific that is upsetting him/her? E.g. maybe there’s a crisis at home, or an upcoming test that might cause stress.
  • Is this negativity something that will pass eventually? E.g. maybe a pet has passed away and your friend is still mourning this loss, but eventually the pain and sadness will heal and pass.
  • Do you suspect there is something that is bothering your friend that he/she doesn’t want to share with you right now? E.g. your friend might indicate symptoms of depression or you might pick up on something that is wrong. This could mean that he/she is ashamed of the situation they are currently in and don’t want to be a burden.
  • Is there something you can do to help? E.g. maybe your friend has failed a test and has become very negative about it, you could help by sharing your notes or explain certain homework.
When you have evaluated your friend’s negativity and you come to the conclusion that the negativity is due to a specific event or circumstance that has caused him/her stress and sadness, that it would eventually pass and that you can help out, then you can conclude that this person is usually positive and uplifting. There is no reason to end this friendship and you should rather invest more time into this friendship to provide support and help your friend. However, if you conclude that this friend’s negativity isn’t connected to circumstances or events, that he/she is negative most of the time for no reason and that he/she doesn’t want help, then it might simply be a bad habit of being pessimistic and you should consider spending less time with him/her. This doesn’t mean you should end a friendship in a nasty way, it simply means in order to protect yourself from becoming negative, you should consider spending less time with him/her.

The following traits should be red flags that you might need to end a friendships:

  • Friendships that go against your core values, for example honesty. If you have friends that lies and cheats then you shouldn’t feel bad to end such a friendship.
  • Friends that get you in trouble countless times. It is very difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and perform your bet when you waste time being in trouble with teachers all the time. It could also damage the relationship with a teacher and could also put strain on the relationship with your parents if the principle needs to contact them to inform them about your bad behaviour.
  • Friends that are self-centred or narcissistic. This means these friends won’t put in the same effort into the friendship that you would. They will also not support you in your personal goals as they only care about themselves.
  • Friends that blame you for their own shortcomings or unfortunate circumstances. Friends that put the blame on you if they don’t succeed or get you into trouble isn’t true and worthy friends.
  • Pretentious friendships, where they talk badly about you behind your back is another red flag that you might need to end the friendship.
  • Jealous friends are toxic to your mental health. You should try to stay clear of friends that are jealous of you. To understand jealousy and how to deal with jealous friends, read our blog ‘Understanding and overcoming jealousy from peers’.
  • Friends that bring you down the whole time. Friends that insult you, pick on your flaws or bring up your weaknesses aren’t friends worth keeping.
Identify the friendships in your life that makes you feel bad about yourself, that isn’t good for your mental health and friends who doesn’t support your goals. When you have done so, determine how you will deal with these friends in the future. Decide whether you need to spend less time with them or even to end the friendship completely. Decide if you really want to keep these bad friends as acquaintances or not. You can simply spend less time with certain friends, since people grow out of friendships eventually. Either if toxic friendships are damaging your self-esteem you might need to end it by talking to them directly and explaining yourself to them. 

3. How to surround yourself with uplifting friends.

Jack Canfield said, “Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people – people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.” Canfield describes the kind of friends we all want. The kind of friends that help you grow, believes in your dreams and lifts you up. The question is however, how do we find friends like these? Not all of the qualities you look for in a friendship will be available in a single person. You might need to find a few different friends, in different groups and with different interests. Surround yourself with the following kind of people and make friends with them:

Surround yourself with people that inspires you.

People that inspire you possess qualities or attributes you wish you had. When you look at their lives you become inspired to be like them too. This is a person who is either older or more successful than you, someone you can learn from.

If you want to become more intelligent and be do better in your academics, make friends with the smart kids, ask them questions, study with them and compliment their intellect. Most smart people don’t mind sharing their knowledge and you might just start enjoying difficult subjects. This way of choosing your friends can be applied to any activity that you wish you were better in – sports, music, art, business, etc.

Surround yourself with the people that challenge you.

Friends that challenge you are big motivators to become more successful and to reach your goals. This is why most bodybuilders like having a gym partner. A good gym partner will tell you to do one more rep, run faster, jump higher. A good gym partner will encourage you to do your best and challenge your limits. Find friends that are like a good gym partners, friends that push you to do better in tests, challenge you to do better in sport, place the right amount of pressure on you so that you give your best in every aspect of your life. Find friends who love to see you win.

Surround yourself with the people that lift you up.

People that lift you up makes you feel good most of the time. This could either be by making you laugh, comforting you when you feel sad, or helping you solve your problems. Find people that make you feel good about yourself and make you feel secure in the friendship. These friends might not always be the smartest or the most successful, but the kind of friends where you feel happy and optimistic about life.

Be the kind of friend that inspires, challenge and lifts others up.

We want to encourage you to find friends that inspires, challenge and lifts you up. However, you must in return also be the kind of friend that will inspire, challenge and lift your friends up. Make the effort to help your friends out, inspire them to reach their goals and challenge them to be better. If you want good friends, you also need to be a good friend. If you want your friends to inspire you, you also need to inspire them. If you want friends that lift you up, you also need to lift them up. This is how you build meaningful friendships, by becoming the kind of friend that you want. After all, similar kinds attract each other.

We hope you are inspired by this blog to be a good friend and to also find friends that are good for you. Remember to share this article with your friends and help them to become better friends too.

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