Friends, gather round while I share a personal story of which I am not particularly proud.
Long ago and far away, I was not very discerning about the people I surrounded myself with. I wasn’t befriending drug dealers or puppy-kickers but I definitely had a few friends who required disclaimers and post-event apology emails.
There was the girl who’d get into yelling matches with people she just met.
There was the guy who initiated fistfights, in clubs, on the regular.
There were many, many people whose names required the unspoken asterisks “You’ve just got to get to know him” and “She’s an acquired taste” and “She’s a lot better when she’s sober.”
I’m equally sad to report that I dated a few (generally nice, well-mannered) dudes who inspired their fair share of eye-rolls and blushing. The boyfriend who would invite people over and then get so drunk he’d pass out before the party even started. The guy who’d dated half my city and treated most of those ladies poorly.
None of these were humans I was particularly proud to know.
I liked them! They had redeeming qualities – they were funny or interesting or smart – but they also pretty regularly engaged in choices and behavior that made me want to cross the room and pretend I didn’t know them or follow behind them with a broom and dust pan, cleaning up the literal or emotional messes left in their wake.
Have you heard that clever saying that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with? I doubt this is based on science (because if it were I’d have developed a taste for craft beers by now) but our friends undoubtedly rub off on us.
Their political opinions, the slang they use, even how they manage their money and their health – in small but real ways, who our friends are affects who we are.So why would you want to be affected by people who were anything less than wonderful?
Slowly but surely, I’ve filled my life with amazing people I’m thrilled to know, the sorts of people whose awesome will (hopefully) rub off on me. Jeremy and his wife adopted three siblings from Ethiopia. Ewa runs super marathons. Elizabeth co-created an organic skincare line that’s carried by Anthropologie.
Grant made a music video. Amy owns a successful, all-women tattoo shop. Justin doesn’t own a car and rides his bike 14 miles (each way!) to work every day. Jen has two (!) M.A.s from Harvard. Kelly wrote a a New York Times bestseller. My husband made a whole damn movie.
You deserve friends and partners who inspire more boasting than blushes, people who are exactly as amazing as you are.
Are you proud of the people you surround yourself with? In what positive ways have your friends rubbed off on you?