Your friends either help you move forward or encourage you to stay where you are. They introduce you to learn new things or discourage you from going after your dreams. They may be more positive or more negative in their approaches to life.
Whatever the case with your friends, know this: they profoundly impact your life in ways you may not even realize.
It might be obvious to you why you have the ones that encourage and support you in your dreams and goals, but how did you end up with the others?
Expand your understanding of why you have the friends you have:
1. Proximity breeds friendships. It’s true: we tend to become friends with those whom we come into contact with in our immediate environments, like in our neighborhoods, dorms, workplaces, and establishments we frequent in our hometown.
2. We gravitate toward people who dress like us. For example:
- If you look like a hippie from the 1970s, it’s likely that a few of your friends do, too.
- If you tend to look preppy or dress like a jock, your friends probably dress similarly.
- If you’re clean-cut, your friends are likely clean-cut.
- If you’re lackadaisical about your appearance, many of your friends may be too.
3. Commonalities draw us together. You will often befriend those with whom you have something in common. When you share similar experiences, the connection can be stronger.
- Do you play on a baseball league or hang out at the local bar after work on Friday night?
- If so, you’ll probably end up friends with other baseball players on the league or those who hang out at your favorite Friday night haunt.
- If you’re married, it stands to reason the majority of your friends will also be married.
4. Your stage of life at the time you meet matters. Where you’re at in life when you meet new people largely determines who you will choose as friends and whether you’ll put in the effort to have a friendship.
5. For example, if you’re single and have recently moved to a new community and settled into your first professional job, it makes sense you’ll acquire new single friends who are also in your age group and getting accustomed to the full-time working world.
6. You and a friend might have each gone through emotional traumas. Interestingly, we tend to be drawn to those who’ve lived similar lives as our own. We feel they understand where we’re coming from and how we view the world.
- To illustrate, perhaps you’re going through a divorce and you join a book club. It’s quite likely you will acquire a fellow book-clubber as a friend who is also experiencing a divorce at the time.
- When you share a common emotional trauma, it can often cause a strong bond of understanding to form between you.
7. Opposites might attract when it comes to friends. Although this point seems to negate a couple of the other factors, making friends with someone who’s quite different from you in some respect is also likely.
- Consider this example. Let’s say you’re struggling financially and admire a neighbor you recently met who barely makes more than you, yet seems to have it together financially. He always talks about investments and saving for retirement.
- You’re very interested to learn more from this man. Plus, he has a great sense of humor and you both love to golf. So, you make friends with him.
It’s rarely a mystery why we ended up with our friends. Other than the one or two high school buddies you still keep in touch with, the pattern for making friends in adulthood is pretty standard. If you think about each of your friends, they’ll likely fit in to one of these categories.
When you understand these reasons, you’re armed to cultivate new and positive, impactful relationships. You can make conscious choices to find friends who support your goals as you grow and work to live the life of your dreams.