Don’t Like Your Friends? May Not Like Yourself.
Dr. Martha’s Monday Morning Motivational
Monday, July 25, 2011
As a child, my father was always very inquisitive as to who my friends were as individuals. He wanted to know everything about them and meet them before I could hang out with them. He would inquire as to where they were from, who their parents were, and ask what them seemed like a million questions. In my teen years, he asked less questions but the questions were more specific and he still had to meet them. Partially because he loved me and wanted to be a part of my life and the other is because he understood what kind of influence our friends can have over us especially in early stages of developing our character and morals. At the time it was a nuisance and now I see it as a blessing.
I have always considered myself blessed with an abundance of friends. Up until the age of twenty-two I always had a plethora of great friends and attempted to spend as much time with all of them to make sure I developed each friendship. To be honest it was exhausting, I had very little time for myself and had more what I would call “good” friends than great “friends”. When you spread yourself too thin in any area you, you don’t ever really master anything and this includes relationships. At 22 years old came chiropractic college and along with that came a ton more to do, which meant less and less time for activities outside of school causing me to condense the number of friends I had in my inner circle to an even smaller number.
In chiropractic school, I can remember telling my dad I was a bit overwhelmed one week because I had so many friends pulling me in so many directions. That day on the phone my dad taught a lesson that I have used as a basis for my current day friendships. He said, “You can only have as many great friends that you can count on your one hand.” At first I was taken back and definitely wondering what I would do with the rest of my friends. After much thought I began to re-organize my friends in a way that better served us all, not necessarily eliminating friendships but re-prioritizing them. This lesson taught me that it is more important to be friendly to all and true friends with few.
Friends have a HUGE impact on who we are and who we become. Simply put, the people we spend our time with are the people we are most like. I always challenge people to look at their five closest friends and to ask themselves if they like what they see? Because chances are it is like looking in a mirror! It’s crucial that we keep a pulse on our circle of influence so that we keep a pulse on the evolution of our character and morals.
Each year I go through all my relationships with my friends and give them a wellness check up. I start by making a list of all my friends. I look at the overall friendship account I have with them. I make sure that we are both keeping the intricate balance between both deposits and withdraws so we keep the account in balance. I also look at their evolution as an individual and make sure it is still congruent with my belief and value system. Any friendships where I need to step it up, I make a conscious effort to contribute more. On the contrary, any relationships that I feel have been overdrawn are assessed. I then have a courageous (courageous because sometimes they are not easy to have) conversation with that individual. This exercise holds me accountable to my friends and helps me maintain true to myself.
It is important to have friends. Friends are a blessing from God and the family we choose for ourselves. As long as we keep a balance in our friendships so they don’t begin to alter who we are or alter our purpose. It has been said that we an individual is most like their five closest friends. I can honestly say that I have some of the best friends in the world. And that they contribute not only to who I am but to my purpose. They make me a better person and elevate my happiness. I am so thankful for each and every one of them. While we have boundaries, we have no limits as to what we would do for each other! To ensure success, just as in anything else, friendships need Tender Loving Care! Like I tell my BFFs, that F is forever!
Love. Laugh. Adjust.
Dr. Martha Nessler, Innate Girl