Your friends influence you far beyond how they make you feel in the moment and life. In fact, they can even contribute to how long you live!
The friends you choose to have in your life undoubtedly play a significant role in who you are and who you become. They influence you socially, physically, financially...in just about every way you could imagine!
And it's not just in the moment as you're spending time with them. Even if you're laughing together, bonding, or otherwise enjoying yourself, their influence can last long after you're done visiting.
Some studies even say that the right friends lower the risk of disease by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol.
The late Jim Rohn wrote that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
It's true, the company you keep says a great deal about you.
Your Friends Influence You – Choose Them Wisely
The friends you have in your life can impact what you end up achieving in your life. If you have specific career aspirations or a desire to increase your education, it's invaluable to ensure they support who you are and what is important to you.
They don't necessarily need to be on the same life path or hold the same dreams. But they need to be a positive support system and bring value to the relationship.
Considering the way you think, feel, and behave is significantly influenced by your friends – it's imperative we choose our friends wisely. They are your people and are your most vital asset. We talk more about this in this post.
Be Careful of Who You Surround Yourself With
When it comes to our friends, Amy Morin advises the five reasons you should be careful who you surround yourself with:
- Strong-willed friends can increase your self-control.
- Fewer friends increase the likelihood you'll take financial risks.
- Too many social media connections can increase your stress level.
- Close friends could be the secret to longevity.
- Friends can greatly influence your choices.
Relationships thrive on optimism. For more on optimism and the power of positivity, click here.
It's an attitude that draws people to you. Negative people try to pull you down to their level. Most of us want to be near those who raise us up. Do you want to associate with those who bring you down, or do you want to be near those who build you up and inspire you?
I choose to be around people who share my values and people I aspire to be like.
Friends and longevity
Let's talk more about reason #4 it's so essential to choose friends wisely: friends influence you AND even how long you might live.
Compelling research that looks into the longest-living cultures found a significant disparity between things like the foods they ate, where they lived, and how much they exercised. What wasn't different, though, was that each of the longest-living groups centers on meaningful social relationships.
In fact, another study of "309,000 people found a lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% – an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity."
We may need to let some friends go to have a more meaningful life. It's hard to do, of course. But we need to consider how compatible they are with our values. You will quite possibly start acting like the people you surround yourself with. Yes – friends influence you THAT strongly. But remember, it's not for us to tell people what we see as their shortcomings. We won't singlehandedly change them or their life. We don't have that power. But we do have the ability to be the person we want to be.
If we spend time around people who are averse to our values, we run the risk of becoming more like them. And, fair or not, we will also be judged in life by the company we keep.
Select friends who inspire, share your values, and challenge you to become your best! When you understand how your friends influence you, it becomes even clearer why choosing them wisely matters so much. Be sure to check out many more motivational blogs here. If you'd like to take an emotional intelligence assessment, check this out.
This article was originally published on March 6, 2017, and has been updated (September 2020).
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