No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. – Alice Walker
Do you remember when you were a kid, some adult in your life telling you that you are judged by the company you keep? Well, that was true, and it is also true that people tend to take on the characteristics of the people with whom they spend the most time.
I am blessed to have a plethora of wonderful people in my life, and these people all have different characteristics. Some are incredibly happy-go-lucky, others are extremely driven, some are very athletic and physical, and some are more relaxed. I have friends who are focused on money, and friends who barely get by, friends that are very analytical and friends who are more creative. I also have friends who are incredibly happy and enjoy life, and friends who are angry at the world.
I’m sure when you look at your friends, you’ll find that the characteristics that make up your friends are equally as varied as the character traits that make up the wonderful person that is you! It’s funny, when I spend time with my outdoorsy athletic friends, we usually do something outdoors, go figure. And when I spend time with my more creative friends, we focus on more creative activities.
This is where it gets interesting. When I spend time with my friends who are angry at the world, or who are chronically unhappy, I find myself being angry and unhappy too. Those are not moods I wish to explore frequently, nor are they moods anybody should explore frequently. But do you want to avoid those friends and not hang out with them? If you say yes, that is your choice, but I love all my friends and want to spend time with them.
Years ago, when I started Think Positive 30, I spent a lot of time on the platform LiveJournal. It was a great platform for blogging, as well as bitching and complaining. I swear nobody every posted cheerful thoughts, it was always what was going wrong in their life. That’s not a bad thing. It’s always good to get things out and not keep them bottled up inside. However, when you spend all your free time reading how bummed, or angry or upset people are, it starts to wear on you.
My wonderful friend Patty decided she was going to post one positive thing each day in her LJ and I followed suit and that’s how Think Positive 30 was born. You can do the same. When you are spending time with people you know are kind of mopey or always complaining pregame some positivity. Listen to some cheerful music or read or watch something that makes you feel good inside.
Recognize that it is not your job to change your friends or to fix them. You are responsible for yourself. When you are hanging out and they are complaining because the rain ruined your beach day, agree, but point out that maybe the rain was needed, and come up with something different to do. Just deflect their negative thinking and you’ll be better off. And make sure to schedule time with the happy, feel good friends too!