Who do you hang around with?

Who you hang around with matters!

There’s a saying I was taught a few years ago that goes: “Who you hang around with really matters” and over the years I’ve come to see how true it is. It’s based on the theory that the 5 people we spend most of our time with are the 5 people who really influence us and affect our behaviour. Once you spend a bit of time looking at this in your own life you’ll see how true it is, and if you’re looking to change something in your life (like find a partner) then it’s a really important thing to be aware of.

Let me give you a very small example to illustrate the point.

We’re a small team here at friends1st, and as we spend 9 hours in the office together 5 days a week, we are probably really influencing each others’ behaviour. Now Jo, whose been with us for about 5 months now, generally takes her lunch break around 2.30. Strangely I’ve found myself taking my lunch later and later – and its definitely a result of being influenced by what Jo does. As I said this is a small example, but I see the theory working out at home with my husband as well as we subtly  influence each other’s behaviour.

It was as I was doing some coaching that I realised how important this was if you’re looking for a soul mate. You really need to consider who you are hanging out with and whether those people are subtly good news or bad news for you.

You see this stuff is really really subtle. You won’t know it’s happening (in other words you won’t realise you’re being influenced) unless you think about it really carefully.

Let’s imagine you’re divorced and don’t have good feelings towards your ex. If you have a group of friends (or even just one or two people you spend time with) who are in the same boat – and you find yourselves discussing your ex’s and how you now don’t trust the opposite sex as a result of what happened in your past with your ex,  chances are you’ll view all potential partners with a degree of mistrust.

Or perhaps you’re a single never married woman and spend time with other singles – all berating the fact that there are so few available men to go out with. If that’s the case your whole mind set will be quite negative.

Take the opposite of those two scenario’s. You’ve been upset and hurt by your ex and subsequent divorce, but you hang out with someone also divorced but who doesn’t dwell on the past and who has a positive attitude about moving forward. Every time you see them they are optimistic about human nature and confident of meeting someone for whom life will be different.

Or: The other singles you hang out with are always going out, proactive about dating, and although they all recognise it’s hard work to meet new people, they keep going and feel confident that in time they will meet someone.

The different attitudes I’ve outlined here really do make a difference. Whether we like it or not (or more importantly acknowledge it or not) we are influenced by those around us.

So the upshot is that you have to look at who you spend time with. Think about who are the 5 people you spend most time with, and evaluate whether they are good news or not so good news with regards to how they are affecting you finding someone. It’s not that they are necessarily openly supporting you or not supporting you. It’s more their attitudes to what you are doing, saying and feeding back to them, that will affect you.

If you still haven’t quite understood this, think about how you feel when someone mentions a restaurant they’ve been to, or what they thought about a film. If they rave positively about it, you’re far more likely to want to go to experience it for yourself. If they’re really negative about it, chances are you’ll give it a miss. The people around us do influence us!

So lets make this really relevant. Who are you talking to about your membership of friends1st and other methods/approaches you’re using to meet someone. Who are you discussing the profiles you’ve received with? Who are you discussing any contacts you’ve had with? Who do you talk to about opportunities you could create yourself to meet new people?

Are these people upbeat and positive? Are they people who want to see you be successful – or are they happy to join you in your stories of woe?  It’s totally your choice – it’s your life, but the people around you will be affecting you, and since you do want to find someone, you might as well surround yourself with the right people – people who are going to support and help you in this area – people who are going to encourage you and keep you moving forward. People who will turn negatives into positives, people who’ll keep helping you move forward when times are tough or you’re feeling low or despondent.

Spend a bit of time thinking about this. It may be that you’ll need to make some changes – spend less time with certain people if they are an unhelpful influence – or close this bit of your life off to them. It may be you’ll search out new friends in this area.

Just remember though, whether you do the exercise or not:  “Who you hang out with matters”