Let me start the article off with a quote/question the great Will Smith posed – “Look around at your circle, are the feeding the fire or pissing on it”?
That made me take a step back and a flurry of cliche statements began popping up. “It doesn’t matter if the size of your circle decreases as long as the small circle is of value”. Stuff like that. And it rings true. We sometimes tend to hang on to dead weight friends. It may be hard to spot, but you need to take a step back and see who’s feeding your fire and who’s pissing on it.
This is especially the case I feel coming out of university, with everyone rushing to get their shit in order to look successful and be “better than their peers”. I’ve seen it first hand, people want to push you down to rise up. People want to act like we all can’t succeed and so in order for THEM to be successful, you can’t. I have another 2 quotes that stand out regarding this:
“Look at your friends and pay close attention to who doesn’t clap when you win”
As well as:
“People want to see you do good in life, but not better than THEM”.
The last quote rings true. People might want you to succeed, but only as long as they’re MORE successful and have better things. This can disrupt your life immensely if people in your circle have this mentality. But it goes deeper than friends who only want you to succeed to a certain level until they see you as “too” successful. It extends to friends that are actually pulling you down and stopping you from reaching your full potential. As they say, birds of a feather.
Case and point is my little brother. He’s a super hard worker, smart as hell and has such a drive to succeed I’ve never seen in anyone before. He’s friends with another guy who seems equally as smart and driven and at the ages of 18, they’ve already started a business, soon to be two with me venturing in with them. This wasn’t a point to brag or say we’re succeeding in life or anything, but more an anecdote to show you that your friends will either lift your sails and help you move forward, or they’ll anchor you in one spot.
Another crucial point to look at is those friends who are there for you. You KNOW you can rely on them when in need. Those friends who call once in a while just to check on you. Especially males. The male ego is a fragile thing and many gents will be harboring depression and other mental health issues but feel they can’t talk about it because they’re “a man”. Check up on your boys. Everyone is fighting battles and demons on a daily. You’d be surprised that just asking your boy how they’re doing will help or even prevent something negative or harmful they might do. So check up on your people. And expect your people to check on you. Care goes both ways.
I hate to sound like every dude on twitter but I’ve seen my circle of friends dwindle from dozens to a handful. Because I took a step back and realized quality over quantity. Yes, these friends might be fun to hang around with, but are they adding any value to your life besides giving you a drinking buddy for Friday nights?
Now don’t get me wrong, a balanced lifestyle is important, so have friends who bring entertainment to your life but BALANCE. Have friends that motivate you and uplift you. Have them FEED YOUR FIRE.
Again I refer to the age I am in life, just starting out in business as many are. Friends should want to support your business, help promote it if they can and want to see you succeed. You don’t want people asking for free stuff “because you’re friends” or asking for crazy discounts. They should want to help and see your business prosper, and by buying whatever it is you’re selling, they’re helping you succeed. And vice versa – if you have friends who are doing things that need exposure – HELP THEM! It won’t take but 2 minutes to post a link to their business page, blog page or soundcloud link. And who knows, someone who follows you and not them may find exactly what they’ve been looking for.
So in a nutshell, all I’m saying is this. Be that friend that feeds others fires. But also, make sure your fire is being fed by your “friends”. You should all work together to keep each others fires burning and support and help each other in any way you can. It doesn’t have to be money. As I said, even sharing of content can help.
Also, stay away from one sided friendships. Those where YOU are always checking up on them. Supporting their business. Trying to make plans. We all live busy lives and friendships should go both ways. If they enjoy your company, they’ll request it. It should be a mutual want. They should want to see you strive.
Another famous line to end with:
“Only break bread with those you starved with.”
Know your circle and know what you all bring to the table. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Keep ALL the fires burning.