The friends you choose reflect the person you are. Friends have a huge bearing on how you go about your life – how you think and feel, the attitude you carry and how you behave.
We spend our whole lives building and cultivating friendships. Like investing in wise property choices, investing in wise friendship choices can bring you great mutual returns on your investment – in far more enriching ways than bricks and mortar.
How do you know that the friends you have around you right now, are friends that you can grow with? In this article, we’ll explore the character traits that are the ingredients for fulfilling friendships that will propel you toward achieving your best possible life.
On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of key take outs:
- Your successes in life are influenced hugely by the people you surround yourself with. Sharing similar life goals and wanting a friend to reach theirs, is a solid foundation for a mutually enriching friendship.
- You owe it to yourself to be really choosy when it comes to prioritising your friendships or mateships. Be selective. Be honest. Thrive on quality friendships.
- You need to be a good friend, to maintain fulfilling friendships.
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As a young bubble head, I loved being surrounded by friends – in quality for sure, but in quantity too. If you’re reading this, you may be early in your Defence career and know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a social life indeed.
But as we mature [I know, a foreign concept for some of us!] friendship begins to take on a different form. Our relationships with friends progressively grow in complexity, through our 20’s, 30’s and beyond. Most mature adults have an average of two close friends.
I believe we are wired to walk this life together, with people – with our friends. Your success in achieving the goals that you set yourself are influenced hugely by the people you choose to surround yourself with – your friends.
Here are my top 5 reasons why you should be choosy about who you choose to hang out with.
1 Become wise by walking with the wise
There is a strong correlation between your network and your success. Every successful property investor will tell you straight up that their most important asset is their network.
Your network is not how many friends you have on social media, it is your personal relationships and how you foster them.
#Insight: Map out those friends who inspire you with their focus on lifestyle goals through their property investment exploits. Organise social events and catch ups, dinners and BBQs to hang out and learn from each other. It is true that you are who you associate with. Being aligned with your life goals and how you plan to get there, can be a great foundation for a fulfilling friendship.
As the proverb goes ¾ “become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”
2 Shared mission successes are more rewarding solo missions
Growing friendships with people who aspire to similar life goals as you, is the basis for a friendship where you ‘get each other’. Sharing similar goals and energising each other toward reaching those goals, can lead to more successful endeavours than embarking on solo missions.
3 Fact: people with close friendships are happier
Friendship or mateship can provide companionship, affection, as well as emotional support and strength, and contributes positively to mental well-being and improved physical health. The World Happiness Report [it’s true, there is such a great thing, look it up!] – a landmark survey of the state of global happiness – found that people with close friendships are indeed, happier.
4 Good quality friendships boost our life quality
Numerous studies indicate that the higher the quality of friendship the greater the contribution to enhancing your self-esteem, self-confidence, and social development.
5 Aspire to be the person you admire in your friend
The fastest way to change bad habits or instil good character is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be. It’s true that your friends can rub off on you.
The ‘key character criteria’ to give the best mutual returns on friendship
The concept of friendship in intertwined with life. Life is up and down. There will be times we are in need and times we are amply supplied; times we are down and out, and times we are in high spirits. For these reasons we all need ‘all climate’ friendships that can weather the storms and surf when the swells up.
#Insight: How good is it to have close friends in your life to share these moments, and for you to be there for your close friends in these moments for them?
How would you rate the types of friends you have surrounded yourself with? Realistically you’ll have only a couple of close friends. Close friends are those inner circle mates that you share secrets with. The friends that you can call on if you need help with a problem. They’re the people you enjoy spending time with and can be your true self with.
#Consider: What type of friend are you? How do you go about choosing a friend, over an acquaintance? What do you bring to your friendships?
We’ve talked about the positive influence of quality friendships. On the darker side, associating with bad company or ‘friends’ that bring you down and diminish your life’s goals, can block you from reaching your goals.
George Washington was quoted as sharing wise words to the effect of:
“Associate with people of good and noble character: for it is better to be alone than in bad company”.
How do you find character traits in people that can make for enriching friendships? Below is a table full of positive traits to look for, that are as good for your soul as healthy food and exercise are for your body. Consider the person or people in your life that you consider your ‘bestie’ or best mate. Scan through the words below and see how many of these traits you can tick off. Any number above one is a good indicator!
~ Adaptably, Appreciation, Attentiveness, Availability, Commitment, Compassion, Concern, Confidence, Consideration, Consistency, Contentment, Cooperation, Courage, Creativity, Decisiveness, Deference, Dependability, Determination, Diligence, Discernment, Discretion, Efficiency, Equitableness, Fairness, Faithfulness, Fearlessness, Flexibility, Forgiveness, Friendliness, Generosity, Gentleness, Gratitude, Honesty, Humility, Integrity, Joyfulness, Kindness, Love, Loyalty, Meekness, Mercifulness, Observance, Optimism, Patience, Peacefulness, Perseverance, Persistence, Persuasiveness, Prudence, Punctuality, Purpose, Resourcefulness, Respect, Responsibility, Security, Self-control, Sincerity, Submissiveness, Tactfulness, Temperance, Thoroughness, Thriftiness, Tolerance, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Virtue ~
Our closest friends can be our trusted and wise counsellors, people who love you at all times [even when you make mistakes], someone you can pour your heart out to, someone who is there for you when you need them, and you for them.
Wisdom is an overwhelmingly positive trait to seek out in a friend. Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge, and apply what you know. Knowledge is simply knowing things, where wisdom takes knowledge to a more soulful and honed knowing.
Someone who appears to be wise, may not be – wisdom is only proven through lived examples. Learn to exercise caution when you open your heart. Whether you realise it or not all things flow from the heart. A true friend will hurt when you hurt, and will tell the truth even when it may hurt to be told. A good friend will always bring out the best in you. Choose friends that make you sharp and make you feel good about who you are, and where you’re aspiring to reach to.
#Consider: Am I the type of person my friend would turn to when things go wrong for them? Do I have the capacity to show loyalty no matter what they’ve done?
How to be a better friend to grow quality friendships
It may be cliché, but honesty in a friendship is always the best policy. Communicate with honesty and integrity. Honesty demands trust, and integrity is all about actually doing what you say you’ll do – be a man or woman of your word.
Be there for your oppo’s when the seas are stormy. You might need someone to be there for you too.
Learn to be a good listener. You cannot always be right – take the fly on the wall perspective to observe things differently. Being able to stop and consider something from another person’s point of view – aka being able to demonstrate empathy – is a much-valued gift.
Close friends or mates or oppos or diggers or buddies make for a far richer life!
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