“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn is a motivational speaker and credited with this nugget of interestingness. I can’t say it’s scientifically accurate, but for me it passes the smell test.
Giving Jim the benefit of the doubt, have you ever done an audit of your associations?
- Write down the 3-5 people you spend the most time with in a 24 hour period. This could be in person, on the phone, or virtually. Who are you hanging with on a personal level?
- For each person, answer the following questions.
- Are they interested in improving their financial outlook?
- What are their life goals? Do they have any?
- Do they add value to your life?
- Would you describe them as fiscally responsible?
Seriously evaluate how productive your friendship is for each person with 2-3 no’s by his or her name.
Pressing Pause on Friendships
Pressing pause on a friendship is hard.
Heck, letting go of an unproductive relationship can be a challenge – sometimes.
However, I’ve found that when I’ve made the decision to step back from relationships that add more drama than value, I begin to use time more effectively, experience less stress and anxiety, and have more time to spend with quality buds.
Everyone must define for themselves what a good friendship is.
In the past, I’ve had to rip the Band-Aid off when it comes to breaking ties with unproductive friends. Quite honestly, that’s rare and only essential in the most extreme cases. Think about it, in our right minds, we don’t generally align ourselves as friends with horrible people. However, it does happen. In those cases, a frank and immediate break in fellowship may be required. You can still love and pray for that person – from a distance.
Most of our associations aren’t explicitly destructive; rather less than productive. Maybe you’ve grown in ways that your circle is unable or unwilling to match.
Let’s say you’ve decided to start bringing your lunch rather than spending an average of $2000 per year eating out in restaurants. Do your friends honor that choice or give you a (playfully) hard time?
Maybe you’re more interested in attending workshops on financial growth rather than window shopping on the weekends. Would your friends join in or offer snarky jabs to put down your new found interest?
These changes don’t make your friends bad people. The influences, however, may work against the growth you’re attempting to nurture.
Breaking up Without Breaking off
Instead of making huge pronouncements in friendship changes or burning bridges, try the following:
- Be less available for fiscally irresponsible outings. Replace those outings with activities designed to foster improvement.
- Transition from long phone conversations to infrequent text message updates.
- Organize activities that are more in line with your financial growth goals, invite your buds, and allow them to self-select out. This allows for organic growth with those of similar mindsets.
While your transition may be intentional, you can do so in a way that doesn’t create a permanent break in case these less than productive friends eventually join you later. Sometimes people just need to see a change or results in those around them before they can believe change is possible.
In the meantime, evaluate your associations and make sure that at least the optional relationships are adding value while you do the same.
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