We’ve all heard it said, you are an average of the 5 or 6 people that surround you, so look around. Who are the people around you? Ask yourself “Do I surround myself with people that gossip, backbite that are snitches or do I surround myself with open, authentic people? Do I surround myself with people that want to grow, learn and do great things or do I surround myself with lazy complainers?” After answering these questions as honestly as possible, write out your 6 maintenance, 6 growth and 6 mentoring friends. 

LAUGH – Your maintenance friends are your buddies, those you laugh with. Those people that keep you grounded. They are sure to call you out when you start straying from your declared purpose and they are usually there to support you when you need it most. 

LEARN – Your growth friends are those individuals in your life that encourage your growth and development. They are usually people who have excelled in a manner which you admire which is why they can also serve as your mentors. They do not have to be within your age range, and you can turn to them for advice from their experiences of the same or similar situations to yours.

LEAD – Your mentoring friends are those who you teach and help to grow. They are those who look up to you, take advice from you and you help them up the ladder of success.

When you make the choice to grow and develop yourself but find that the people around you do not encourage that, I say; drop them like a hot brick. My life has changed radically from being intentional about my associations. I refuse to spend my time with malicious gossips who tear people down. My friends are people who are willing to be real with and grow with me. Of course, we love gisting, who doesn’t? but we do it in love! Eventually, when negative influences in your life see that you are constantly holding up a mirror to yourself and to them, in a bid to change for the better, they stop wanting to hang around you, anyway. So, it’s a win, win situation.

Believe me, everything is a choice and you sure need to carefully choose your friends. I understand that not everyone is like me, You see, I’m totally comfortable with speaking directly and dropping bad company immediately I realize that they have no intention of changing. Even if you are a lot more diplomatic and people-pleasing, remember…this is your life we are talking about! 

Another quick tip is to start making more friends that possess the traits that you desire in yourself. If for example, you would like to be more honest, make honest, straightforward friends. You’ll find that this will be a further deterrent to those friends who may encourage you to lead a dishonest and inauthentic lifestyle. 

A lot of us are very afraid to look ourselves in the mirror candidly and identify behavioural problems that need to be worked on so we tend to blame others; “ It’s my friend”, “I can’t help it”, “I have to do this.” You don’t have to do anything, as a responsible adult, it is up to you. If you look at your friends and you don’t like what you see, then you should take a hard look at yourself too. Like attracts, so if you find that all your friends are the envious, spiteful kind, you need to look in the mirror because you just might be the same. 

A good practice is to actually look in a mirror and describe yourself as honestly and objectively as you can to yourself. Don’t be overly critical of yourself and don’t attempt to cover your flaws. Say “My name is……… I lose my temper too easily/I don’t speak up enough/I don’t trust myself enough/I’m not confident enough etc. and starting today, I am working on being calmer/more outspoken/bolder/more confident” You’ll find that when you begin to work on those traits you don’t like, anyone around you carrying the same traits will start becoming uncomfortable and start to distance themselves from you.

So in your bid to find relationships that uplift, be a person that uplifts others. When trying to see if the people around you are killing your productivity, it is important that you ask yourself, “Am I killing the productivity of those around me?” That’s how Karma works, isn’t it???