Who are You Spending Time with and How Much Does It Matter?
Human beings need to be in relationship with others. It doesn’t matter how introverted you may be, you are not meant to be alone. We all need people in our lives.
I am extremely comfortable spending long periods of time by myself, but that doesn’t mean I am better off alone (and do). And neither is anyone else. I believe that we all are created uniquely because we all have something to contribute to others that helps them live a better life.
Life is about relationships. When it’s all said and done, it’s not going to matter much what we leave TO anyone (because we certainly cannot take anything with us when we leave this planet), but it’s going to matter A LOT what we leave IN someone.
There are Four Primary Categories of Relationships
In 3 Circles Living I talk about these four categories: Family, Friends, Community, and Business.
We don’t pick our family, but we do choose most other relationships when it comes to depth. And this is where the heart of this article is centered. Consider this perspective for a second:
Anyone who is not FOR you is automatically against you. Even if it is subtle.
When I say “against you” I don’t mean they are actively trying to do you harm in some way (although there are some who are sometimes), what I mean is that they may be having influence on you in such a way that it is having a negative impact on you.
Jim Rohn said “We are obligated to limit or remove the undue influences of those who are having the wrong effect on us. Otherwise, we risk losing our own vision due to the pessimism of those who do not share our desire to experience more of the good life.”
The key word here is obligated. I love that he used this word. And I take it to heart. There is a lot of negative in the world. Its being thrown at us all the time from everywhere we can turn. It is crucial that we are purposeful in filling ourselves up with positive messages and people. Anyone who attempts to tear you down, in any way, you are obligated to remove them, and if that is not possible, limit your exposure to them.
I do not spend time with negative people on purpose. I do not spend time with disrespectful people. I will go to great lengths to protect my attitude and outlook, because my attitude and outlook affects anyone I am consistently involved with…and so does yours. It’s doubly important for me because I am a very sensitive person, so my feelings are easily hurt. Regardless of my logic or seasoning. So, I limit my purposeful associations to positive, growing, caring, encouraging, respectful people…or people who are trying to become that way.
The bottom line is that you have to manage who you are willing to associate with. My general mantra is to be nice, honest, and respectful to everyone, but when it comes to purposefully spending time around people, it takes a lot of exposure and observation before I trust to the level to freely spend time.
Not everyone is your tribe. Not everyone will like you. And very few people are anything like you in general. All this is the way it’s supposed to be. You can be friendly and not be friends. You can do business and not be friends. You can serve in many communities and not be friends.
We owe it to the people we interact with in life and the people we are serving in some capacity to show up as our best selves, and we cannot do this if we are spending too much time around the wrong people for us.
I promise you that if you become very purposeful about this, you will end up spending more time with the people who have a positive impact on you and much less time with those that don’t…and when you do have to spend time with those that withdrawal from your emotional bank account, you’ll be much better equipped to let it roll off you.
While you are typically going to be attracted to people who share similar interests and various commonalities, this is just a starting point. There are many litmus tests you can use to determine who you TRUST (which is the ultimate bottom line) to be “for” you, the following nine are non-negotiables for me and may serve you as well.
People that challenge you with the INTENT to help you be better.
People who care about you enough to disagree with you while respecting your perspective.
People who encourage you.
People who love you for who you are.
People who are genuinely happy for you when you accomplish something or something good happens to you.
People who listen to you (not to be confused with doing what you say).
People who show up when things are difficult for you.
People who are honest and authentic.
People who do what they say they will do.
Life is too short and uncertain to spend it with the wrong people, and you are too valuable to not be in a position to make your best contribution.
Here’s a video from 5 years ago, that may be of some value for you.
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you would like a roadmap for living your best life, or what I refer to as your “richest life possible” check out 3 Circles Living.