11 Secrets to Choosing the Right Friends

Do you know that you can accurately predict where you'll be five years from now? You can easily know where you'll be going, what you'll be doing, and what your income level will be. If you want to know how, the answer is simple: by the company you keep.
10/24/2014 03:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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Do you know that you can accurately predict where you'll be five years from now? You can easily know where you'll be going, what you'll be doing, and what your income level will be. If you want to know how, the answer is simple: by the company you keep. The people you associate with have a major impact and influence on your personal success. You can tell where most people are going to end up in life simply based on who they hang around.

It is likely that your income level is in the same range as that of your closest friends. You talk about the same topics and you usually hang out at the same places. In many cases, you may discover that you're reading the same books... or none of you are reading at all.

Although your five closest friends are your best buds, you have to evaluate your relationships when you are ready to make a change for the better. Relationships are like elevators; they are either bringing you up or taking you down. Every connection isn't meant for the long haul... sometimes we find ourselves holding on toxic relationships that expired years earlier. 8This is why it is so important to make the right relationship choices. For your long-term success, you simply must choose the right friends. Here are some secrets to doing so:

1. Associate higher. If you are focused on taking your life/career/business to the next level, then why not associate with people on that next level? Doing this will help expand your mind to greater possibilities. It is natural to feel most comfortable with people who are like you, and that's OK. However, now and then it's good to step outside of your comfort zone and spend time with friends who can expose you to greater things, new information and a higher level of living. If you value these friendships, you will soon find yourself advancing too.

2. Choose friends with similar values. While diversity is great in many ways, when it comes to your general values and beliefs, it's best to keep core friendships with like-minded people. While you can respect others' opinions and differences, choosing friends that hold similar values to yours will keep you from compromising or being negatively influenced by those that don't uphold your values and the standards that you govern your life by. When friends have similar values, they can help keep each other accountable.

3. Choose friends with common goals. I like to call these your purpose partners. When you have friends with common goals, particularly as an entrepreneur, you can push each other. You can work on your goals together and encourage each other in reaching them.

4. Choose friends who can bring balance in areas where you are weaker. We all have our strengths and weaknesses -- you know what yours are. With the right friends, you can tap into the talents, skills and abilities of those that have expertise in areas that you don't. Maybe you aren't the best at keeping your closet organized, but you have a friend that loves organizing -- enlist her help! You might be a great writer and can offer assistance to a friend that is updating her resume. When you utilize each other's strengths, everyone wins.

5. Choose friends that stretch, motivate and encourage you. These types of friends are also great purpose partners. No one wants a friend that is negative or down all the time. It's usually the people that are uplifting and positive that we naturally want to be around. Which category do your friends fall into? What do your conversations with them sound like? The best types of friends will be there to offer a listening ear and help you put a positive spin on any situation.

6. Choose friends that share the same interests. Friends with similar interests simply make life more fun. You can enjoy outings and activities together. Whether it's sports, music, performing arts or food, when you share interests, you can get out and do things together. You have someone to visit new places and enjoy new experiences with.

7. Choose friends that have a thirst for knowledge. Life is about learning, growing and advancing. With friends like this, you can learn from each other. It's always great to have a friend who can recommend a good book or share information with you to help you on your path. Friends who are avid readers are usually great conversationalists and fun to talk to as well.

8. Choose friends who you can be purpose partners with. By now, you have noticed that this term keeps coming up. To further expand on it, a purpose partner is someone who you can share your goals and dreams with, and they will encourage you toward achieving them. When you tell your purpose partners what you intend to do, they can help you stay accountable to following through. Allow them to check in on you and ask you about your progress -- and do the same for them.

9. Choose friends who will celebrate your success. You want friends that celebrate you, not just tolerate you. A true friend will celebrate every milestone, accomplishment and success story on your journey. They will be genuinely happy to see you succeed and be the first to say "congratulations!" Friends like this can be rare so when you find them, keep them close!

10. Choose friends who are "get-it" people. Get-it people are serious about their goals and serious about success. They don't treat life casually or waste time on frivolous pursuits. They take fast action and get things done. If you consider yourself a get-it person, it's important that you have friends who operate the same way.

11. Give what you expect to get. Every friendship is a give-and-take. If you expect great friends, you first have to be one yourself. If you live by the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated, then you won't be disappointed -- you will find your friendships fulfilling and rewarding.

Take some time to evaluate your relationships. Do your friends meet the criteria above? Can you call any of them your purpose partners? If so, then great! If not, then it's probably time to branch out and start establishing some new relationships. With the secrets above, you can boost the quality of your relationships and your long-term success.