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“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” -John Kuebler
That bit of advice is often given to children or young people. I remember my third grade teacher, a scary nun, repeating it. I guess it’s meant to keep kids from hanging out with the bad kids, the ones who are obviously going to end up on drugs and/or in prison.
Worthy advice, worthy goal.
I don’t think that advice matters less in adulthood. Sure we’re “in” our futures. Hopefully we’re not addicted to drugs or in prison. At least not yet. There’s still time!
But it still matters who we hang out with. It matters who we choose to spend our limited time with. It matters who our friends are. We might not be on the playground anymore, and we might not ever become addicted to drugs. But that doesn’t mean that the friends we have don’t influence us.
If you’re trying to save money or spend less, staying with a crowd of people that eats out every night, buys the latest toys, and always has the nicest cars is probably going to make that goal harder.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, having smoker friends is going to make that harder.
If you’re trying to to improve your marriage and your relationship with your husband, talking to friends who cheat on their husbands is going to make that harder.
If you’re trying to lose weight, going out to eat with friends who aren’t dieting is going to make that harder.
If you’re trying to find God, talking to friends who dislike religion is going to make that harder.
If you’re trying to be nicer to yourself and to others, being with people who constantly critique, pick on, and judge other people directly to them is going to make that harder.
If you’re trying to not gossip, associating with gossips is going to make that harder.
I find it hard to make friends. I’m shy, I’m anxious about being liked, and awkward.
But I’ve never had a problem with ending a friendship that was bringing me down, or turning me into a person I didn’t like. And that’s not going to change. It hurts when it happens to me, but I have to respect that person’s decision.
I want my friends to love me, to support me, and also to encourage me to be a better person.
As a result, I can look at the friends I’ve made and kept over the years, and I’m grateful for the decisions I’ve made in choosing them, particularly my girl friends. We’ve grown up to be smart, kind, funny, successful, strong women. As an adult, I’ve met more of the same.
And you know what? I am blessed. I don’t have to be friends with everyone. I don’t WANT to be friends with everyone. And if you don’t want to be friends with me, well I guess we can consider that self-selection.
How do you feel about your friendships as an adult? Do you have any regrets?
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