Joanna is the Junior Wellness Lead for SSEDITORIAL Magazine, specialising…
Friends are more important than you think. If you pick them wisely, you can become a better version of yourself. That is because having a strong support network is associated with improved physical and mental health. For example, one study from 2011 showed that we tend to model our friends’ behaviour. In fact, participants who had supportive friends mirrored their exercise habits. So here’s how you can choose better friends:
1. Make Sure They’re Dependable
We all have busy lives, and it’s normal not always to prioritise your friendships over partners, family and work. However, if your friends constantly let you down by cancelling your plans or failing to respond to a text, it’s a sign they might not value you as much as you’d like them to. When this happens, it’s good to have an honest conversation about it first because some people might struggle with mental health or have something else going on.
2. Make Sure Your Friends Listen to You
It’s true that your friend isn’t your therapist. So, if you dump all your problems on them all the time, they might want to distance themselves from you. Sure, a good friend is someone you can confide in and allows you to vent once in a while. Pay attention to friends who want you to be positive no matter what. Be careful if they refuse to engage with you when you’re having a difficult time. They might make it seem like they’re setting a healthy boundary but actually dismiss your feelings. This might even teach you to keep it all in.
3. Make Sure You Have Something in Common
In modern times, friendships are pretty difficult to maintain, and unless you have a friend you share a hobby with, it might be tricky to fit them into your schedule. This isn’t to say that you should cut people out of your life if their interests differ from yours. But it’s worth putting your energy elsewhere if you have a friendship that makes you feel guilty because you don’t devote enough time to it. Perhaps you could focus on making friends with people you come across when you engage in your hobbies.
4. Make Sure They Have Your Best Interest at Heart
It’s nice to be around someone who validates your thoughts even when they aren’t necessarily true. Sometimes all you need is a friend who tells you your ex was a dick and it’s their fault that things didn’t work out. However, we also need a friend who wants what’s best for us and gives us the harsh truth, whether we’re ready to hear it or not: no, you won’t be happy in relationships unless you learn to break out of old patterns. A friend who looks out for you like this can have a positive effect on your life and help you realise important things you couldn’t figure out on your own.
5. Value Good Character Above Status
Some people tend to form friendships with people they admire but for the wrong reasons. While it might be helpful to associate yourself with people who can motivate you to work harder to go after your goals, don’t forget that their character is more important than everything else. It doesn’t matter that they’re successful if they’re rude to a waiter or think less of you because you can’t afford the same kind of lifestyle.
6. Choose Friends Who Want You To Succeed
It’s not easy to believe in yourself when you have goals that might be seen as silly by other people. That’s why you need to make friends who motivate you to do it your own way and remind you what a great person you are when you’re doubting yourself. It’s also important to have friends who celebrate your success when they’re going through a rough patch. People who truly care about you will be happy for you even if they struggle to reach their own goals.
Joanna is the Junior Wellness Lead for SSEDITORIAL Magazine, specialising in mental health, wellness and lifestyle. In her spare time, she likes to write scripts and dance.