You know how they say that you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with? What do you think about when you hear that? Are you happy with your choices in friends, or could your circle use some polishing?
Are you aware that your friends directly affect who you are? If you have goals you want to meet and you find yourself constantly struggling, it might be time to take a quick look at the people you’re spending time with.
So why should you bother? Aren’t you an independent person? Of course. But the fact is that your friends really do affect everything in your life. How do they do that? Let’s break it down.
How Your Friends Are Affecting Your Life Every Day
Having friends is one of the most rewarding aspects of a good life. You share meals together. You probably enjoy similar hobbies and activities. So it should come as no surprise that you can even adapt the same work ethic and career values as your pals.
Like it or not, your friends influence you in plenty of ways. Let’s examine how and to what extent you’re influenced by the company you keep.
Time is an Investment!
How much time are you spending with your friends? And how does that time compare with the hours you spend with your partner, kids and extended family? Obviously, the more time you spend with your friends, the more opportunity there is to pick up their habits, positive or otherwise.
Try this: Examine now how you’ve changed over the past few years. Can you connect those changes with how any of your friends behave?
Minding your meals.
How often do you share a meal with your friends? What are your eating habits like when you’re at home? How do they change when you’re with your friends? Are you a health nut until you go to lunch with your pals?
When you’re eating with friends, your habits can sort of change – so take a look and ask yourself a question. How do your eating habits when you’re with your friends influence your weight and potentially your health?
Now ask yourself again, what is the impact of sharing meals with friends? Do your choices at those times support the life you want to live?
Do work ethics rub off?
What kind of ideas about work do your friends have? Whether they’re crazy workaholics or they work just enough to get by and receive their paychecks, they affect your own ability and desire to get stuff done.
And whether they’re perfectionists when it comes to their work or they just don’t have any real career aspirations, the people you spend time with can definitely affect your attitudes about work.
Ask yourself if you find yourself gravitating toward your friends’ thoughts, feelings or habits around work. And even more importantly, how do those elements help or hurt your efforts to achieve in your career? Take some time and really think about the impact your friends’ attitudes about their work have on your own perspectives about your job.
The friends who play together…
Whether we like it or not, our friends and their habits will directly affect who we become. So ask yourself what you like to do in your free time in comparison to your friends. What are your favorite ways to pass the time as compared with your friends’ hobbies? Maybe you prefer more solitary hobbies like drawing or fishing but your friend loves to play golf and tennis – and that’s okay – but how does it affect who you are?
If you find yourself gravitating towards the chosen pastimes of your friends, are you pleased with that change in yourself? Or do you actually prefer other activities? Really think about this one and decide if it’s time to start adding people to your circle.
Drink, drank, drunk?
This one can be serious depending on your personal makeup. There are many people who are directly affected in very significant ways by the level of “partying” that they’re exposed to through their friends.
Ask yourself: What is your level of alcohol use compared with your friends? Maybe you try to limit your alcohol use but then your buddies invite you to go out for a few drinks after work and before you know it, you’ve had too much. Is this experience what you choose for the life you want to live?
The people you invest your time and energy with have the capacity to change your life in a number of ways. If you make yourself aware how your friends are affecting your life, you can then choose which habits you want and which of your buddies are contributing to the life you want to lead. Nothing wrong with being a little choosy, especially when you consider the serious effects they can have on your life.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.