Who are your five closest friends? Did you intentionally choose them? Or are they circumstantial friends?
Whether you realize it or not, your closest friends set the bar for what you consider to be normal. For example, if youre a B student and all your friends get Cs, youll feel like a high achiever. If you start hanging around the straight-A crowd, its likely youll start to feel differently about those Bs.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Studies have shown that people rarely out earn their five closest friends. In most cases, your income is more likely to be the average of the five people you spend the most time around.
Is it because were more comfortable with people of similar status? Or because we adjust our expectations and thus our behavior to meet group norms? Both. We seek people who affirm our choices and behavior. We also mirror the behavior of the people around us. Put into practical terms, if you want to be healthier, hanging around people who have beers and burgers for lunch is going to make your health goals seem unrealistic, and thus unattainable.
In the rush of daily life, we often form friendships of convenience, like the office mate or the neighbor. Yet these people might not be the best choices for your inner circle.
You may not be able to avoid the complaining or low aspiration co-worker, but you dont need to have lunch with him. From a financial and career perspective, spending time with high achievers has helped many people, myself included, up their game. But financial matters arent the only arena of life. There are other more nuanced ways you can create a more enjoyable life being choosy about your friends.
Here are three qualities I love in a friend:
If after reading this youre starting to question some of you own friendships, go back and reread it from your friends perspective. Are you the kind of person someone would want as one of their top five?