“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with”, Jim Rohn. Well, I don’t know about the exact average thing, but I can testify how important these 5 friends are in my life.
He was sipping his cafe latte while I was enjoying my “pain au chocolat”. We were good to go for catching up while waiting for the waiter to bring our lunch.
“I know I sometimes might come over as rude or antisocial when you guys invite me to your cooking parties or other gatherings and I say No….but I need to do what I feel like it’s right for me. And at this time of my life I am focused on my business, on learning new things… I’d rather spend every free moment to get myself closer to my goals!”
All I said was: “That’s O.K. I understand your point. And I am sure no one felt offended by you not coming to the party. You can join us only when you feel like You really want to be with us.”
That’s how I was chatting with a good friend of mine the other day. I so much resonated with what he said, and I didn’t feel rejected or offended by him declining the invitation to our event, because he wanted to do something else.
I actually appreciate this about him, that he has the courage to behave a bit “antisocial” to stay True to Himself.
Even with the risk of appearing “rude” or having “poor social skills”.
When I use the word “we” here I refer to a small group of like minded entrepreneurs, freelancers, bloggers, tango dancers, slow food lovers and friends. When he is in this state we make jokes and tell him that he is “antisocial” or “autistic”. Because he is so excited with his ideas and caught up in his business that he doesn’t want to do anything else. And that’s why I find him very inspiring also.
Actually we all behave like this from time to time. And it’s a very necessary behavior to embrace when You are really committed to achieving something important for You. And if You find yourself among True Friends they will accept this with humor, without judgement. They will support You and encourage You.
How Do You Know You Are In The Right Circle Of Friends?
I find that shared values and similar higher goals and purposes are the basics.
For us, the first ones that come to my mind are: freedom, independence, creative expression, connection, authenticity, honesty, courage, truth, compassion, fun, hugs.
We all share a rather atypical lifestyle-meaning none of us is employed in a 9 to 5 corporate type of activity- since we are either self employed, freelancers or owning our business, or a combination of these. I’ve found out that this is an essential aspect of our common ground.
So we don’t judge or consider our “antisocial” friend rude when he is declining an invitation. Or when any of us is behaving like that. We understand and respect his choices. We try to get him out of his mind by inviting him to the gatherings we organize. Sometimes he joins us, sometimes he doesn’t. And that’s OK.
We each tell honestly how we feel about each other. We give each other gentle “kicks in the ass” when we feel one of us needs it. We listen to what one has to say. We support each other. We ask and give feed-back, we help one another with our knowledge to support the one that needs it.
As I am writing this I realize once more how grateful I am for having this group of people around me. As my “herd”. I so much like the Ice Age quote about being in a herd. Actually one of my friends brought it up recently during one of our many group chats.
How I Changed From Feeling A Misfit To Having My Own “Herd”
Some might say “you are so lucky”, but I don’t think luck has anything to do with this. One year ago I didn’t have them in my life. If I look back, in the last 2-3 years I’ve almost completely changed my life by making a series of choices.
None of them was easy to make, but somehow they tend to stack up on each other and it gets easier as I go along.
I realize now that by changing the place I live in-moving from the suburbs into the city center-my life started to change. A lot.
The next natural step was that I got distant from the old circle of friends, that I used to meet often because -we knew each other since childhood, we lived nearby etc.
Somewhere along the line I started feeling frustrated because we’ve evolved differently. I found myself I didn’t resonate with most of them anymore.
I felt misfit, weird, unseen, misunderstood.
I felt I was not being True to myself anymore, I felt I was wasting precious time while hanging out with them. So I started gradually to decline more and more their invites. I still appreciate and respect them, I just found myself on a different path.
It was difficult while I was still close to them physically, peer pressure it’s quite challenging. So by moving into a new place, this problem was solved.
However, it was still scary and difficult to find myself “alone”. But if I hadn’t done that, there was no way to open the space for the new friends I attracted in my life. On the course of a couple of months to a year I reached this point today where I feel like I have found my current “herd” 🙂
What’s In It For You?
I wanted to share this with you because I think many people don’t realize the importance of their close circle of friends.
And I want to encourage you, by sharing my experience, to have a look at your current life situation.
Have an honest look and put a little perspective on your closest 5 friends, family members, co-workers, the ones that you spend most of your time with.
Questions To Ask Yourself
- How do you feel when you are with them?
- Do you feel in flow or do you feel like you are faking it?
- Are you truly enjoying their company and finding them inspiring and nurturing?
- Or do you feel disturbed in your gut after you just spent some time with them?
- Do you feel accepted, valued and appreciated as you are?
- Do you admire and appreciate them?
- Are they encouraging you to pursue your dreams or they are killing your crazy new ideas?
If You are dedicated to your self growth, staying True to Yourself is essential. The natural process of your growth is that You outgrow your current life situation, meaning house, job, friends, sometimes spouse or significant other.
One of the hardest yet the most important steps to take is to say No to what no longer fits you, so You can make room for the New. It’s scary, difficult, challenging, but I don’t know of any other way.
Share in the comments if you’ve been through a similar experience. How was it for you to transition to your new “herd” :)? Or are you currently looking for it? Either way, I would love to hear about it.
With all my love,
6 thoughts on “How To Stay True To Yourself And Still Have (True) Friends”
I completely understand you, Raluca! I’m in the same “situation” myself – as you said, it’s scary, difficult and challenging, but it’s also scarier, more difficult and more challenging if you feel the need to change yet you don’t…
I also resonate with the move from the suburbs to the city center – and it’s not so much about the city center itself, as it is about being where you feel the energy is right for you…
Keep feeling, writing and growing :)!
Thank you for sharing, Alina! Yeah, I agree with what you said about feeling the energy of a place; it’s not so much about the exact place but the energy of a certain space that just feels “right” for me! 🙂
I’ve just seen this movie made after Richard Bach’s novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I remembered this post of yours. It relates.
A good achievement of cinematography and beautiful fable.
Just uploaded it (https://www.dropbox.com/s/cekg96odvx1tnv1/Jonathan.Livingston.Seagull.%5B1973%5D.avi?dl=0) since it’s hard to find online. To see the entire movie, use the download link.
Thanks Ovidiu! 🙂