“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn
We generally choose our friends and companions based on what life stage we’re in when we meet them. It’s human nature to congregate with others who we perceive as being like us. You hang out with other single gals because you have that common bond. Or you sit down on the park bench with that other mom, and strike up a conversation while you watch your toddlers play. Or you have a standing pizza and board games date every Friday with your other broke college friends. Or you and your spouse have dinner twice a month with other couples you know.
Have you ever noticed that when one of your single friends gets married, you don’t see much of her anymore? Or when one of your group of broke college friends lands that great new job, you just don’t seem to have much in common to talk about? Or how your childless friends, secretly (or not so secretly) roll their eyes when you break out the baby pictures? Or when one of those couples you socialize with is going through a divorce? All of a sudden, somebody doesn’t ‘fit’. And although you try to maintain those relationships, everything just feels awkward.
So what happens when you decide you want more? Well, it can feel a bit like breaking the tribal rules. All groups have this ‘agreement’, be it conscious or subconscious, that members maintain a certain status. Whatever common bond brought them together, if someone steps outside those lines, the group feels threatened. One of two things is likely to happen: the group will attempt to bring the errant member back in line, or will distance itself from them.
While it’s very noble to want to remain loyal to your friends and family, at some point you have to objectively ask yourself ‘Are these the people I want to be like?’ If the answer is no, that doesn’t mean you have to cut these people out of your life! It’s perfectly okay to maintain your relationships with them! And it’s also okay to find other people you align with. Some of these friendships may drift when you no longer have that commonality, and that’s okay, too.
The point is not to stunt your own growth, just so you can fit in! If people only accept you as long as you are like them, then it’s not YOU they care about, but the persona you’ve taken on in order to please them. If you have to be somebody you’re not in order to keep them around, what have you gained? And more importantly, what have you lost?
So, be YOU.
Find your more.
It may make people uncomfortable at first, but those who are meant to stay, will. And those who don’t? Well, you know where you stand.