The old adage, “you are the company you keep” is absolutely true. I’m sure you’ve heard how your income is the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most, but I believe that formula extends to your entire life, including your overall health, success and relationships.
Why? Sure, we’re all independent beings and shouldn’t rely on others for our happiness, but there’s no getting around the fact that we’re social creatures and the people around us can influence us, for better or worse.
Do me a favor - go back in your memory to when you were 10, 20, 30, etc. Remember who your best friends were, who you were dating and who you worked with most on a day-to-day basis. Got their faces in your head? Now think about what your life was like at each of those times:
- How much money were you making?
- How happy were your romantic partnerships?
- How fulfilling was the work you were doing in the world?
See any correlation? I bet you a case of Shift Bars that you do (just kidding:) But I’m sure you catch my drift. Our friends reflect back to us who we are and what our priorities are. You could say your tribe defines your vibe...but I think the opposite is true.
Your vibe attracts your tribe.
Just like everything, what you’re putting out comes back to you. So if you’re complaining about your job or the state of the nation (an admittingly easy thing to do these days), there’ll be no shortage of people who are ready to join you. Conversely, if your peeps spend most of the time talking about their passions and what they appreciate in life, you’ll be more apt to join them instead of whining about rush hour traffic. Since what you focus on grows, you gotta be sure you and your crew are creating more of what you want instead of more of the same ol’ thing.
Therefore, it’s worth the time and the effort to find and maintain friendships that will support, encourage and champion you. Here are my top tips for attracting your tribe:
- Focus on what brings you joy. Yes, opposites attract but ain’t it so fun to hang with people who are into what lights you up!? Since I moved to California, I’ve been going to a lot of ecstatic dances and meeting the coolest people there. They get my deep desire to express myself through movement because they have it, too.
I also recently attended an open house of natural food entrepreneurs and it was so amazing to spend time with people who know all the highs and lows of what I’ve been through building Shift Bars. It’s something even my most well-meaning friends just can’t understand. So get out there and pursue your passion!
- Trust your gut. Just because you meet someone doing something you love doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be your new BFF. Trust that spark you feel when you meet certain people. It’s not a coincidence, it’s your inner guidance letting you know this person is a match to your vibe. I used to work so hard at trying to get everyone to like me and it’s just not worth it (nor is it even possible). When it comes to friendships, quality definitely beats quantity.
- Put the effort in. So you’ve met a cool person - now what? You gotta work it! Friendships are like anything else worth having in life - you get what you put into them. So make dates to get together, check in regularly even if it’s just a quick text to ask how their day was, and celebrate milestones that are important to them. In today’s digital age, you know how amazing it feels to get a card in the mail, right? Start being one of the people who sends them.
- Go deep. We live in a time where most people try to put forth a front of perfection to others - at work, at PTA meetings, on social media. But you know as well as I do that it’s exhausting and just not true. The best friendships I have are with people who have held me when I’ve sobbed, and who have let me hold them when they needed to break down. It’s that intimacy that bonds us. So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with those you love. It will make the good times that much sweeter.
- Bless the others. We all know the adage that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. In our more-is-better culture, we sometimes assume that the lifetime relationships are the best, when that’s not the case at all. Some of the people who rocked my world the most were in it for only a very brief time. And if a long-time friend is growing at a different pace or in a different direction than you, it’s OK to let them go. It may be a temporary parting or it may just be that you two have run your course. It’s a bittersweet part of life, but don’t hang onto relationships that no longer serve you out of a sense of obligation or loyalty - be loyal to you and your dreams above all else.
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that I’m writing this post on friendship while sitting at the dining room table of my friend, Dhru Purohit. I met Dhru 10 years ago right after discovering natural health and he’s an expert on maintaining strong friendships (seriously, check out his Instagram account at @dhrupurohit for tips on how to be a good friend). He taught me so many things about friendship and I love looking back to see how ours has changed and grown over the years.
Because that’s the great thing about friendships - they’re living, breathing things. They can grow with us over time or stagnate and bring us down. I encourage you to take inventory of the relationships in your life right now and fertilize the ones that bring you joy. The benefits will come back to you tenfold.