It’s what our parents tell us as children in an attempt to guide us away from bad influences. But is it true? Are you really who you hang out with?
It’s More About Perception
If you still select your friends by expectation or societal guidelines then you aren’t necessarily selecting friends you genuinely connect with—but friends who you are supposed to connect with due to where you live, the income you make, your kid’s school, or other societal expectations.
The Accidental Sort
It’s true our friends can rub off on us in both positive and negative ways—so we must be mindful of the primary group we have sorted ourselves into. For most, it happens without us realizing it. If you instead have friends from all walks of life you will find your common ground in all of your passions and interest. But if you spend all of your time with one group you will be seen as one in the same.
Friendship Isn’t About 100% Alignment
To be friends with someone shouldn’t mean that you 100% agree with all of their beliefs, or that your interest must always match. It’s healthy to have friends whose interests, passions, religion, culture, and even whose politics vary from yours. While your core values may need to be aligned your view of the world will be too small if everyone in your life agrees on everything. More importantly, you and your group will never achieve true acceptance if you are required to conform.
All in all, we must be slower to judge, more eager to learn—and open to the authenticity and complex interests and beliefs.