I only have a few friends. Thankfully.
Years ago, I used to think more would always equal better, especially in terms of friendships and relationships. I then realized that’s not the case.
Although socializing with other people is a fundamental need of us human beings, you want to be very selective in terms of who you call friends.
You deserve the best. You want to spend your time with people you truly resonate with, and that truly care about you.
It doesn’t mean you should be arrogant. It doesn’t mean you should have unrealistic standards.
But if you care about your mental health, ditch the idea of having hundreds of friends (I blame social media for this).
For most of us, having only a few friends we can truly trust and connect with is the way to go. Here are five reasons why.
Reasons to be selective with friends
In no particular order:
1. Your resources are limited
Time. Energy. Money. I don’t know you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have an unlimited amount of these.
Now, if you’re financially independent (whatever your definition is), and you’ve learned to maximize your energy through a healthier lifestyle, then you’re going to have more money and more vitality than the average person.
But when it comes to time, I’m not sure how you would ever have more than the average person.
Sleeping less hours is a terrible idea, and even if you have an excellent work-life balance, there’s only so much you can do in one day.
With that in mind, you want to be selective in terms of who you spend time with, because time is a very finite resource no matter what you do and who you are.
There is no reason to fill your time with friends that are… a waste of time.
You want to invest your time and energy in what makes you happier, in what makes you a better person. Including your friendships.
2. Fake/draining friends
Having fake friends is pretty much the worst case scenario here, but it’s not uncommon at all.
Yes — people who use you, backstabbers, and emotional vampires are rare (unless you have the type of energy and personality that attract these people).
But then think of friends who drain you. Think of friends that trigger negative feelings, that somehow make you really tired each time you meet them. We’ve all dealt with them.
Regardless of their intentions, these are basically fake friends as well.
Being selective helps you say no to them. Not only that, you’ll find that the more selective you are, the more you’ll tend to avoid fake friends, naturally.
The belief that more (friends) equals better (life) can often create insecurity, and insecurity is what fake friends feed off.
3. Change and growth
In the words of Heraclitus, “change is the only constant in life”.
And I’ve found that the more you’re into personal growth, and the more goals and dreams you have, the more frequently you’ll change as a person. In a good way.
Now, regardless of who you are and who you want to become, it is vital that you eliminate anything that prevents growth.
And guess what — some of your old friends may hinder your growth. They probably don’t do it on purpose, but they do. A bit sad maybe, but that’s the honest truth.
The third reason you want to be selective with friends is that your old friends don’t need to remain in your life if you don’t want them to.
People come and go, and sometimes friendships end simply because of life’s unpredictability.
But sometimes you need to be the one who’s in charge and decide that a certain person or circle is no longer the right one for you. And say goodbye.
A bit obvious when it comes to dating and relationships; not so much when it comes to friends.
4. Your friends influence you
Spend enough time with a certain group of people, and chances are you will start behaving like them.
The people you surround yourself with influence not only your behavior, but also your thoughts, feelings, attitude, outlook in life, political views. You name it.
The truth is that, consciously or not, we always pick up things from those around us. Especially when we believe they have a special place in our life.
Being selective prevents you from spending too much time with those who have low energy.
All types of behavior and attitude tend to be contagious. Smart people choose to spend their time with friends that inspire them, and not to spend time with people they’re supposed to avoid.
5. It’s okay to feel lonely
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, we are social animals. We need to connect with others — that’s a fundamental need.
This means that feeling lonely, from time to time, is normal.
Our brain is programmed so that we feel pain if we ever spend too much time on our own, or if we ever feel isolated.
Depending on your personality and lifestyle, this may happen quite a lot. And I believe technology has made it worse.
We think we are now connected to everyone, but sending a text message isn’t the same as meeting someone in person.
So in today’s world, it really is normal to feel lonely from time to time.
And as much as you should try to develop meaningful connections with others — you need to be aware you’ll always feel lonely from time to time.
Just like it’s perfectly okay to feel tired, sad, angry, or lazy from time to time.
Be selective with friends — quotes
Intelligent people tend to have less friends than the average person. The smarter you are, the more selective you become.Nikola Tesla
It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.W. Somerset Maugham
Surround yourself with those who won’t compete but will revel in your success and see your ascent as a reflection of their own possibilities.T. D. Jakes
I’ve spent years saying no to things. It’s important to be selective with both projects and partners.Lauren Conrad
Friends should be like books: few, but hand-selected.C. J. Langenhoven
Know yourself; keep your circle tight. Keep your friends and your work circle tight.Rita Ora
Be selective about your external influences. Your multi-dimensional brain is influenced by everything you see, hear, read, smell, touch, feel, or say.Brian Tracy
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. The quality of your business is no different.Harvey Mackay
Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare — and precious as a pearl.Tahar Ben Jelloun
Be careful who you call your friends. I’d rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies.Al Capone
Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.Unknown
I’d rather have a few friends I can truly trust and connect with, than hundreds of fake friends.
When it comes to friendships, being selective allows you to:
- Invest your resources, primarily time and energy, wisely
- Avoid people who drain you or who are not meant to be with you
- Say goodbye to friends who no longer align to your dreams
- Be influenced by friends who make you a better person
- Accept loneliness as a natural emotion rather than fight against it