Focus On The Way A Friendship Feels Not What It Looks Like
The most important quality in a friendship is the way the relationship makes you feelnot how it looks on paper, how alike you seem on the surface, or what others think. Ask yourself:
- Do I feel better after spending time with this person?
- Am I myself around this person?
- Do I feel secure, or do I feel like I have to watch what I say and do?
- Is the person supportive and am I treated with respect?
- Is this a person I can trust?
The bottom line: if the friendship feels good, it is good. But if a person tries to control you, criticizes you, abuses your generosity, or brings unwanted drama or negative influences into your life, its time to re-evaluate the friendship. A good friend does not require you to compromise your values, always agree with them, or disregard your own needs.
Examples Of Social Proximity Effect
I recently learned several of my friends hire housekeepers to clean for them. A few days later, I was researching housekeepers in my neighborhood. These are people I care about and respect, so Im naturally inclined to try to be more like them.
Look at your everyday habits. What do you do in the morning after youve showered and had breakfast? How do you behave at work? What do you like to do on the weekend?
Where did all these things come from? More than likely, they came from someone you met along the way who influenced you one way or another.
It could be a joke you picked up from a friend or a habit you inherited from your boss. It could be your relationship to money that came from your parents or a hobby that came from your partner.
It doesnt take long for the proximity effect to start working its way into your behavior.
When I spent time in Buenos Aires I noticed that, within a few days, I had modified my behavior to fit the customs of the city. I wanted to act like a local. They dont queue into lines, so I fought for a spot to checkout at the grocery storesomething I wouldnt do at home.
Deadlines are less important there, and I found myself being more lax with my schedule. I was supposed to check out of my room at 11:00 AM, but ended up staying well into the afternoon writing.
Theres nothing wrong with this, per say. Its simply a characteristic of humans and many other species. This is how we learn and how we relate to one another.
Do We Even Need Close Friendships
When youre overworked and overwhelmed, the motivation to have dinner with a friend versus turning on Netflix and eating pizza with your spouse can be hard to summon. But the research is clear: Close friendships are necessary for optimal health and well-being.
We are social and communal creatures, said Serena Chen, a social psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. When we are intimate with another person, we can experience positive mental and physical reactions in our body, mind and heart.
Dr. Amir Levine, a psychiatrist and a neuroscientist and the author of Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love, has studied humans and animals as a way to understand human bonding. Social connections are the most powerful way for us to regulate our emotional distress, Dr. Levine said. If you are in distress, being in proximity to someone youre securely attached to is the most effective way to calm yourself.
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Turning Acquaintances Into Friends
We all have acquaintances in our lifepeople we exchange small talk with as we go about our day or trade jokes or insights with online. While these relationships can fulfill you in their own right, with some effort, you can turn a casual acquaintance into a true friend.
The first step is to open up a little about yourself. Friendships are characterized by intimacy. True friends know about each others values, struggles, goals, and interests. So, try sharing something a little bit more personal than you would normally. You dont have to reveal your most closely-held secret, just something a little more revealing than talking about the weather or something you watched on TV and see how the other person responds. Do they seem interested? Do they reciprocate by disclosing something about themselves?
Other tips for strengthening an acquaintance into a friend:
Invite a casual acquaintance out for a drink or to a movie. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about reaching out and making new friends as you do. Be the one to break the ice. Take the first step and reach out to a neighbor or work colleague, for examplethey will thank you later.
Carpool to work. Many companies offer carpool programs. If your employer doesnt, simply ask a colleague if theyd like to share rides. Spending regular time together is a great way to get to know others better and offers the opportunity for uninterrupted and deeper conversation.
If Being Close To Others Is So Beneficial Shouldnt It Come Naturally
If close friendships really are vital to human well-being, it would seem that we would be intuitively skilled at making them. But it turns out that the opposite may be true: Close friendships are so important to us because they are so difficult to form.
According to John Cacioppo, a social neuroscientist who specialized in the study of loneliness , humans would have evolved a built-in bias against easily making friends because avoiding an enemy would have been more important than making a friend. If I make an error and detect a person as a foe who turns out to be a friend, thats O.K., I dont make the friend as fast, but I survive, Dr. Capiocco said in a 2017 interview in The Atlantic. But if I mistakenly detect someone as a friend when theyre a foe, that can cost me my life. Over evolution, weve been shaped to have this bias.
In the modern world, that tension is more nuanced. There is a longstanding debate in the sociology community about what humans want more: to be admired or known, Dr. Chen said. She explained that admiration came with a lot of perks: It feels good, it has social benefits, there may be status and even financial gains to be had. But being admired and seen in ways that dont line up with how we actually see ourselves perhaps not as confident and successful as others think we are can come at the cost of feeling understood by and close to others.
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How People Around You Can Affect You
I have found that there are two factors that determine the extent to which your thoughts and actions are influenced by the people around you. The first is your consciousness and resilience as an individual. The second is the collective sum of consciousness of the people you are with.
You may be the most conscious and smartest individual around, but if you are constantly surrounded by negative, fear-based people in your life, it will impact who you eventually become and your progression in life. If you are heavily grounded, there may be a limited downside that your negative friends can bring you. However, you also get a limited upside as you are spending time with people who hold you back rather than people who can be elevating you.
This is what Robert Kiyosaki experienced as well, which he shared in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. He had two dads his real dad, stuck in the middle-class with limiting views on money, and his poor dad, one of the wealthiest man in Hawaii and who was smart about getting money to work for him. By consciously choosing to learn about money from his rich dad, he acquired many beliefs and a positive mindset on how to become rich, which eventually led him to become successful in life.
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Who You Spend Time With Is Who You Become
Who you spend time with is who you become. If you want to master your life, it is important that you surround yourself with people who inspire you to achieve greatness. Take a good look at the people who you spend time with on a daily basis.
The values that you live by need to be in alignment with the people you spend time with. Are you friends holding you back? If so, its time to find new friends. If your friends are lazy, unhappy, and negative, you will in turn, adopt those patterns of behaviour.
However, if you spend time with people that are motivated, hard working, happy, successful, and healthy, then you will be forced to elevate your game and attract those same things into your life.
In the words of Rachel Wolchin, Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious. Choose your company wisely.
Watch the video below:
Do you want to learn how to surround yourself with people who inspire you for greatness? to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!
The person that I am today is very different from the person I used to be. During my high school years, all I cared about was video games and TV, and so I surrounded myself with people who shared the same interests. As a result, I lacked core social skills that were necessary for my development.
Do you want to learn how to surround yourself with people who inspire you for greatness? to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!
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Why Are Friends So Important
Our society tends to place an emphasis on romantic relationships. We think that just finding that right person will make us happy and fulfilled. But research shows that friends are actually even more important to our psychological welfare. Friends bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else.
Friendships have a huge impact on your mental health and happiness. Good friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation. Developing close friendships can also have a powerful impact on your physical health. Lack of social connection may pose as much of a risk as smoking, drinking too much, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Friends are even tied to longevity. One Swedish study found that, along with physical activity, maintaining a rich network of friends can add significant years to your life.
But close friendships dont just happen. Many of us struggle to meet people and develop quality connections. Whatever your age or circumstances, though, its never too late to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and greatly improve your social life, emotional health, and overall well-being.
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Motivation And Dedication Are Contagious
Imagine working on a team in which 80% of team members are highly motivated and 20% of them slack off. The slackers are in the minority, and they are surrounded by the high achievers.
For the 20%, there are only two options for them. They cant continue to put out mediocre work because the 80% will not accept it. They will either be influenced to do better work, or they will quit because they are unwilling to keep up. In the end, 100% of the remaining workers will be highly motivated.
If we switched the percentages of high achievers and unmotivated workers, there would be a different outcome. If 80% of workers have a low level of motivation and 20% are highly motivated, the teams outputs will be low quality. The high achievers will either lower their own standards, or they will become fed up with their team members lackadaisical approach. In the end, all remaining team members will exhibit uninspired work performance.
Social Proximity Effect: Your Friends Habits Will Become
Social Proximity Effect Turns You Into Your Friends. Humans are social creatures and were all highly influenced by the people around us each day. Theres little you can do to control it. Who you spend your time with will have an impact on the way you behave. In the example from Shark Tank, the entrepreneur understood that spending more
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Create A Foundation Of Security
Before we can attempt closeness, we need to have security. Through his research, Dr. Levine has identified the five foundational elements of secure relationships, which he refers to as CARRP.
Once these five elements are in place, it can pave the way to a deeper connection. From an attachment perspective, once we feel safe, we can start being more adventurous and playful, which helps us at work, raising our kids, in every aspect of our lives, Dr. Levine said.
That doesnt mean that you have to respond to texts within the hour, but it does mean that you need to create a baseline of responsiveness and availability so your friends feel secure in your friendship. Likewise, if you have friends who are flaky, unresponsive or unreliable, it will serve you to try to see if they can become more CARRP and if not, look to other people for close friendship.
We often tell ourselves that we shouldnt care if somebody cancels plans or we cant count on them, that we should be more laid back and stop being so needy, but thats the same as fighting against biology, Dr. Levine said.
About The Expert: Cassie Holmes Phd
Cassie Mogilner Holmes, PhD, is a professor at UCLAs Anderson School of Management and an expert on time and happiness. Her research examines such questions as how focusing on time increases happiness, how the meaning of happiness changes over the course of ones lifetime, and how much happiness people enjoy from extraordinary versus ordinary experiences. Her academic research on the role of time in cultivating well-being has been published in leading academic journals, including Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Consumer Research, and earned her the Early Career Award from both the Association of Consumer Research and the Society of Consumer Psychology. Holmess book Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most, was published in September 2022.
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Ways To Make Your Friendships Closer
If you want closer friendships, the first step is to decide youre going to do something about it. We think about relationships as things that happento us, but the truth is that we make them happen, Dr. Johnson said. Getting closer to your existing friends requires making the time and being intentional.
Once you have determined to work on your friendships, here are five techniques to try.
Transitioning To The New You
What will happen as you increase your contact with these 5 people? If the difference in your consciousness levels is high, you are probably going to start off feeling like a terrible misfit. They will probably talk in lingo and topics that are different from what you are used to. Even when they talk about topics you are familiar with, their perspectives can be totally different and not something you have looked at before. You will probably feel awkward around them.
But if you connect with them every day, even if for just 15 minutes at a time, its a matter of time before your consciousness alters and shifts to the new level. Eventually, you will start resonating with the people you aspire to be. You will find that you start thinking in the same wavelength and start talking about the same topics as them. This thinking will then affect your actions, which will manifest into the results you see in life.
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How To Have Closer Friendships
Even if you find it easy to make friends and its not, for most people getting truly close to people is still difficult. Heres how to make it easier.
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Like so many people, I grew up watching the TV show Friends, dreaming of the day I would be living a glamorous city life surrounded by a group of close friends. Over the years, Ive made lots of friends: childhood friends, work friends, college friends, writer friends. I have friends who like to hike, and friends who like to chat over coffee and friends who live far away but whom I talk to a few times a year.
But close friends? Friends level friends? The I can tell you anything and count on you always kind of friends? Not so much. A childhood friend and I had a falling-out, never to be repaired. Another close friend moved away.
In groups of adults, you often hear some form of this complaint: Its hard to make friends as an adult. And if, for whatever reason, you dont stay connected to your childhood or college friends, you can end up in your 30s knowing a lot of people, but being close to very few of them.
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