Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Company You Keep

Do your friends pull you up or bring you down?
Do your friends pull you up or bring you down?

I’m not sure who started the rumor, but I keep reading that we represent the average of the five people we share the most time with.

Let’s just say that’s true.

Take a couple of minutes and list who those five people are in your life.

Then answer these questions about each one of them:

  • Do they seem to handle their money successfully?
  • Does it seem they’re on their way to having enough savings and good investments to be able to spend their post-work years doing what they’re passionate about?
  • Do they talk about having trouble meeting their obligations?
  • Are their mortgages upside down?  Or are they facing foreclosure?
  • Do they answer the phone when you call?  Or do they screen the calls in case you’re a collector?
  • Do they look worried each time they pull their credit card out to pay for something?
  • Can you talk to them about money?  Or does it seem they’re hiding behind a façade and have turned money into a taboo subject?

Once you’ve done that, rank them in order starting with who is most comfortable and successful dealing with money, and work down through who is in the tightest jam.  [One note:  “successful” doesn’t necessarily mean “richest,” but rather the person who has her life in greatest balance and seems the least stressed by financial issues.]

Now, where do you fit in that continuum?

If you’re going to be motivated by and learn from the company you keep, be sure you’re not on the more successful end of that continuum (and especially not in the position of most successful!).  And if you are, it’s time to make a conscious effort to add new people to your circle that are more successful than you.

After all, it’s fine to be able to help people who are having some difficulties.  But you also have the right to be around people who inspire you and help you to be your very best self.

Does friendship matter in these assessments?  Of course it does.  But you can only help others along if you’re in a strong place, and you need stronger people that pull you along as well.

Write me a line or two in the Comment section.  I’d love to know what you discovered when you did this little exercise!