As I get older, I find I make less and less friends. I’m talking about real friends, the kind of friends who wouldn’t dream of competing with you, let alone talk behind your back. The type of friends who can share in your successes and failures with no hint of jealousy or conversely pity. You know the friends I’m talking about. Hopefully you have a handful of them and you love and nurture them as much as they do you.
It’s taken me years to realize it’s ok to move friends who were once close to the “outer circle.” It doesn’t mean I don’t like them or shun them, it just means I make a conscious decision not to share my deepest hopes or fears with them anymore. No, I’m not talking about friends who are far away from us physically, because social media still allows us to remain close and render support. I’m referring to someone who doesn’t reciprocate our trust.
Let me tell you why.
There’s an old proverb that reads, “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” Quite often, we really do become like the people we spend the most time with. As a creative woman who considers myself honest, kind and supportive, I suppose it’s this kind of woman I want to surround myself with.
It’s a no brainer isn’t it?
Well, maybe not. Perhaps I’ve tended to be a little naive or even gullible thinking someone is supporting me, only to find when the chips are down they just haven’t been there to watch my back. In fact, on occasion, I have found they’ve actually helped wield the weapon. Therefore, it’s all about being smart. It’s okay to be a little cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of those implications. If you hang around people who are always talking about others behind their back then, chances are they’ll be talking behind yours.
Do an analysis of your circle of friends and see whether they add to your life or take away from it. It might be helpful to show if you are surrounding yourself with the right people.
Analyze your girl gang
We lean on our girlfriends a lot. We share our successes and failures with them. It’s important that they’re the people who support us as well as challenge us and are actively encouraging us to achieve our goals.
Perhaps you’re lucky enough to share this bond with a sibling. Alas, I don’t have any sisters, so maybe this is why loving, nurturing female friendships are so important to me.
Filter out the negativity
We live in a world that surrounds us with negativity. There’s no shortage of it from the people around us every day, even strangers seem to think it’s ok to share the negative in their lives.
While it’s my hope that we all will take the time to support people in need when challenges are presented, these are not the situations to which I am referring. I am referring to the women in our lives that drain us of our energy because they thrive on sharing their own negativity. Refuse it. Don’t just walk away from the negativity – run. Get as far away from it as you can. Not only does it impact our perspective with regard to our own lives, it impacts our mental health.
While our success can be determined in part by whom we surround ourselves with, it can also be determined by whom we consciously choose to not surround ourselves with.
Dedicate time to those close relationships
One of the reasons we often dread Monday is we don’t feel we’ve spent enough time with the people who matter. Our lives are so busy that sometimes we have to dedicate the time to interact with the people who mean the most to us. If you need to schedule time to keep in touch with your girl gang, put it on a calendar.
Sometimes we have to make hard choices about what to eliminate in order to dedicate time to those friendships that matter. Do everything in your power to surround yourself with the right people and I do believe by doing so you will forever feel the support and encouragement you deserve.
Mel Brady, 54, is a senior Australian based product and interiors stylist with over 30 years experience in the advertising industry. A few years ago, her silver hair led her to take a confident stand in front of the camera to show that embracing age naturally is more liberating than trying to hold back the years.