Everyone wants to be successful in life. It is almost ingrained in the American dream that you must be successful. And there is nothing wrong with wanting that. However, reaching success can be quite difficult. What success looks to you might be different from someone else but nevertheless, it can be tricky to obtain. This could mean success in your career, relationships, family or even just personal growth.
No matter what it is you are trying to succeed in, you can’t do it alone. Friendships, when chosen correctly, can have the biggest impact on your life and help to mold you to become the best version of yourself. These relationships help to make the journey less daunting.
I can attest that if we're not for my closest friendships, I would not be where I am today. They have accepted me for all of my flaws and help me to continuously better myself so that I feel I can tackle life. Here are some tips on the types of friends you should keep in your inner circle to continue achieving big things in your life.
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No, I’m not talking about the peace-keepers in The Hunger Games, I’m talking about that person that always seems to be level-headed and rarely gets upset. This is the individual that will help you through the frustrating times when you feel that nothing is going your way.
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I have had occasions where I am working on an impossible task or partnered with an annoying individual on an assignment, and my peace-keeper has helped me to remain calm. You’ve heard the saying that you adopt the personalities/ characteristics of those you surround yourself with. Well spending more and more time with your peace-keeper will help you to adopt some peaceful qualities.
Being able to keep the peace and remain calm is vital when you enter the workforce and come upon challenging situations. You don’t want to be the person that is always flying off the handles or blows a gasket. That is a guaranteed path down to getting fired and always staying in trouble.
You always need a person that will keep you laughing. This person helps you to realize that sometimes life does not need to be taken so seriously and to laugh at yourself.
“This is the friend that you call up when you just want to let your hair down and have a good time. They are full of energy and always up for a laugh” (Good Net). Now I’m not saying to spend a majority of your time with the comedian because some things in life need to be taken seriously. The comedian is there to help you remember the wonder of the world and to sometimes take things with a grain of salt.
“They are willing to take risks and will get you out of your comfort zone when you need a little push” (Good Net). They say that laughter is the best medicine, which is why this person is great when you don’t have too many sick days to take.
The lover is that warm, fuzzy person that just emulates light and happiness. You know who I’m talking about. The person that when you are around them, you just instantly feel better. Or this person can give you a hug, and it just makes your whole day better.
That's not all.
The lover can often time also have the role of the listener. “This is the friend that you go to when you have a lot on your mind and you need someone who you know is going to listen, just listen. Most of the time all we need is someone who will lend an open ear without passing judgment or feel the need to interject, and this friend knows how to do just that. They are truly able to listen and leave their own opinions aside when all you need is to pour your heart and soul out” (Good Net).
And what’s perfect is that after pouring your heart out, they are right there lend you comfort and love. Everybody needs this person in their life because often the lover helps you to see the love within yourself.
When someone shows me love, I am then able to pass it on to the next person, I encounter which creates a kind of pay it forward movement. Now what some people tend to forget is that tough love is needed along with the sweet love. I am a tough lover in my friendships because sometimes they need a dose of reality. So this may need to be two different individuals for you: one who is sweet and one who is tough.
The fighter I would say is my second favorite person to keep in my group because they are the ones that get shit done and encourage you to do the same. They don’t take any crap in life and will push you to do the same.
This is the person that, to quote Hunger Games, really leans into life and refuses to sit back while others make a difference. The fighter is the one that will motivate you and empower you to do great things. They bring with them confidence you may be lacking and pump you up to conquer the world.
But there's a catch.
Now while the fighter is an amazing person to keep in your repertoire, you should also be wary of how much time you spend with them. When achieving big things in life, there are times to fight and there are times to just ride it out. Pick your battles wisely.
This is especially true in the workforce because you will come across some people and situations that you don’t particularly agree with. But take the time to weigh if this is a situation you need to fight or let go.
If it’s time to fight though, call on your fighter because they are who you need when things are About. To. Go. Down!
The Wise One
The wise person is my absolute favorite. “If you have someone smart, inspiring, and admirable in your life who practices this philosophy, you’re extremely lucky. We all need a friend who inspires us to be better people without making us feel inadequate. Plus, being around such a person will challenge us to better ourselves every day.
The wise mentor in your life doesn’t have to be someone who shares the same occupation or hobbies with you. It’s simply someone who’s a few steps ahead of you in life and has enough wisdom and patience to guide you in the right direction. It can be anyone — a colleague, a friend who’s beyond their years, or an older neighbor — as long as you look up to this person and want to be more like them” (LifeHack).
For me, this is the women in my family, particularly my mom. Yes, your mom is your friend, stop denying it. This person exuberates so much life and experience that you could never learn in a book or anywhere else. This is the person that has been there and done that and is there to help you when you call out for help.
The wise one needs to be your human version of Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas. They are the ones that share stories that have a deeper meaning and can relate to what you are going through. Make sure you find your Grandmother Willow!
And that one you can just never agree with
You know EXACTLY, who I am talking about. This is the individual that will argue with you till their blue in the face that the sky is green, and the grass is blue.
“We humans are hard-wired to get together in groups and attack outsiders — the human pack mentality, if you will. If you only develop friendships with others who follow the same beliefs, customs, and values as you do, chances are you’re somewhat detached from the rest of the world, and you’re more likely to perpetuate stereotypes on anyone who holds a different worldview from you.
Instead of constantly surrounding yourself with like-minded people, try to break out of your comfort zone and befriend people who hold opposing views. They will help open your eyes to different world views and you’ll learn to accept people who don’t see the world exactly the way you see it” (Life Hack).
Here's the deal.
While life would seem 10x easier just to let them go, they push you to see new perspectives. If you truly take advantage of that friendship and listen to the crazy things they have to say, you might find some truths in there. They also help you to see things from someone else’s perspective which in work and life is essential to being successful.
Most places are more willing to hire someone that can work with individuals that can work with anyone, even their worst enemy. So don’t take this one for granted because it helps to build your sense of understanding and connecting with others. Now notice that I did not say they need to be your best friend! Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
Maintaining the Relationship
Now a common fear while achieving big things is that you may lose the closeness in some of these relationships or lose them all together.
Not all friendships can survive growth.
That is a sad but factual truth. Some may feel you become selfish in your journey to success or distant. You would want to assume that if you pick the right people, like the ones mentioned above, there shouldn’t be any issues in the relationship. But people surprise you. A key component to make sure you maintain as you try achieving big things is communication. Poor or lack of communication in any relationship will be damaging.
So if one of you feels like the other is forgetting about them and mistreating the relationship, you must speak up about it. Nothing infuriates me more than when two people are frustrated with each other and tell others what’s making them mad but not each other. Now it is ok and common that you look to others to vent but when the venting begins and ends at someone else, that is a problem.
How can someone know what they are doing wrong if you don’t tell them? Even if their wrongdoings may seem obvious to you, it may not be to them. Give them a chance to work on it. So work on effective communication with your friends so that the relationship may stay intact while you are achieving big things.
If you still need some work on how to have effective communication in relationships, check out this TED Talk Amy Scott gives. Scott discusses how you can build and not break relationships through communication.
Go Find Your Crew
Now while I have listed six different types of characteristics, this does not mean that it has to be six different people. Some can express two of these characteristics while one may express all six. The decision is up to you! Just be sure to find your crew that can help you be a better you.
Who are your six friends in your inner crew? Be sure to tag them in the comments!
Interested in learning more about how to create a great circle of friends? Be sure to read Friendships Don't Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends.