A few weeks ago, someone came up to me and said, “you basically have no friends.” My first reaction for about two seconds was shocked. Then I realized, I was not totally fazed by that statement. Years ago, a comment like that would have made me angry or upset for a while. Then the real question popped inside my head. Do I really have friends?
The answer of course is yes. But my circle of friends is different now. When I was little and even into my early 20’s, I was a people pleaser. I wanted to be friends with everyone. If someone was not my friend, I wanted to know why not. And I would work overtime to figure out how to be friends with them.
Over the last few years, I realized its not the quantity, but the quality that matters most. So, I closed my circle of friends even tighter. I have a handful of what I call true friends. I have associates or groups of people I am associated with, and they are not friends. During the latter stages of my corporate career, this became the truth. I would associate and hang out, but that was it. Unless something developed into a true friendship, I would not force it. They are associates or people I have a common interest with. There is a difference there.
The problem in society is that everyone is trying to be friends with everyone. People even go as far to associate with negative people, staying around them to be their friend. That is crazy! I am not saying we should not be friendly with everyone and diss people. I am simply saying that you cannot be friends with everyone. It just does not work. I tried that for many years.
It really starts early on in school. The popular kids have the most friends around them. Everyone wants to hang out with them. It is like a currency to have a certain number of friends, especially these days in society. It is the scarcity mindset we start gravitating towards. It comes from our most basic human desire to want to be liked and loved by everyone. That mentality is going to hamper your ability to be successful. There is no way you can be friends with everyone or the masses. I am not saying you should have a specific number of friends but have quality over quantity.
When I closed my circle of friends to a handful, I noticed a major shift. I was being held more accountable. They would not tolerate mediocrity from me. They cared. They told me the truth and called me out on things when they felt needed to. They did not hold back. And it worked both ways. I found myself doing the same things for them. I felt that I could go into battle with them and trust them fully. That is what a true friend does for you.
I think of my circle of friends in this way now….less friends, less bullshit, more quality experiences in life. It might decrease in size but the value is huge!!!