Choosing Your Friends Intentionally for the Future

For my birthday, one of my sisters insisted on getting me a gift. I gave her my reading list (it’s been growing VERY long while I’ve been in grad school) and she sent me a couple, one of which being 5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?. I know she was rolling her eyes at my “self-help” books, but I’m already loving it so far. At this weird transitional period of my life, I want to be open-minded but still keep formulating new goals to conquer.

My biggest concern while reading this book is the benchmark for choosing friends. Only one page in the entire book, but my anxiety shot up instantly. As an extroverted introvert, I’ve always gotten along well with almost everyone, but I prefer to be alone and have few friends. Many people consider me their best friend (but really, why?!), but I’m more skeptical, preferring to take my time in cultivating deeper relationships.

The page first prompted: “Surround yourself with people who believe you can. By all means, share your goals — but only share them with people who can help you attain them.”

Especially with the CHAARG community, I think I have learned to surround myself with many positive, goal-oriented people. I’m not afraid to share my goals, but I am also very much self-motivated, so not much influence comes from others.

Next, the page prompted me to write a list of five people who could help me achieve my dreams and goals. Will spending time with this person drag me down or lift me up? Will he or she make me want to be a better person? A happier person? A more successful person? Will he or she help me achieve my most important goals? If not, find some friends who will.

Many of my best and closest friends who are equally goal-oriented live in other states, so our friendship is predominantly virtual. They may lift me up and be an excellent friend to text or FaceTime, but I’m unfortunately not spending much time with them. I think about who I actually spend time with. Always working or in-class, I’m grateful to work with such inspiring people, but now that I have a full-time job, I’ll be able to socialize more. Which friends will make me a better person?

I often find myself keeping my goals and ambitions a secret around some of my friends. I don’t want like conversations to be centered around me, and usually my dreams require detailed elaboration. I don’t want to do that anymore. Obviously, I don’t want self-centered conversations, but I want conversations to be about our hopes and goals. I’m so over small talk, and I want to engage in more meaningful conversations.

“One of the best moves it to surround myself with friends who, instead of asking, ‘Why?’ are quick to say ‘Why not?’ That attitude is contagious.” // Oprah Winfrey

Who’s up for conversations that do not involve weather, gossip, boys (okay, sometimes), or complaining? Let’s connect.

++ Mary K


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