I just spent an evening with a friend I’ve known for decades, since our children, now in their twenties, were babies. We were invited to an elegant party: the food was delicious, interesting people were there, and the entertainment was good.
Yet our time together wasn’t that much fun.
My friend spent much of the evening griping. After the umpteenth story of this person who hated her, that person who ignored her, and the (multiple) service people who came late, didn’t deliver what they’d promised and were just plain rude, I realized something:
She was unhappy. (She’s had a rough year, changing jobs and required to travel a lot.) And she was passing on that unhappiness in a very effective way. My guess: those companies’ customer service weren’t nearly as bad, if her attitude had been different.
Your friends can have a huge impact on you, for good and bad.
Hang out with someone who pays their bills, doesn’t get drunk on the weekends, and has long-term goals — and you’re bound to do the same. Choose friends who cheat wherever possible, do drugs, and think nothing of picking a fight or trashing their place — even if you aren’t doing those things yourself, you may well get implicated along with them. (Many a public figure has gotten into trouble for those reasons.)
Are your friends helping you accomplish what you want in life?
They should be. As Noelle Oxenhandler points out in her essay, “The Promise of Friendship”:
“As I see it, to be a true friend implies a rather heavy responsibility – and I mean that in the root sense of the word. When I look up the word responsibility, I see that it’s derived from three Latin words that mean again, promise and ability. I’m moved by this discovery because it confirms what I feel about friendship. To be a friend means to be able, again and again, to stay true to a promise.”
What kind of friend are you?
” A true friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” – Arabian Proverb
[Editor’s Note: Choosing your friends wisely is an important step to living the best life possible. To learn how to live the live of your dreams in just 30 days, check out 30 Days To Positive Thinking.]