Jim Rohn famously said, "you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with," and this could not be more true. The individuals you spend time with help to determine what you value, what you do on a daily basis and your general outlook on life. Even your success in life could be determined by the people you hang out with every day, which is why it's crucial to look at the people around you and make sure you rid yourself of people like these.
The naysayer This person’s sole function is to make you feel bad about yourself. They are a constant negative presence in both word and attitude. If you aren’t careful to distance yourself quickly from one of these, they will drain your energy, positivity and drive. Making yourself successful can be hard enough— who needs someone to make your journey even more difficult? Nobody wants an extra devil on your shoulder to whisper that you’ll never achieve anything you want or you're not good enough. The negative influences need to go.
The gossiper It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." If you're looking to be successful in your life and career, it's important to steer clear of small-minded habits such as gossiping about others, which means staying away from gossipers. We've all associated with people who gossip, but the more you participate in gossip, the harder it is to control. It can be easy to get sucked into that behavior, but it should be avoided as much as possible. It’s unprofessional, unkind and nosy. It also takes time away from the work you should be focused on, and if you're really hustling, you don't have time to talk negatively about others.
The uncaring friend If you’re geeking out over your latest adventure over dinner with a friend and they haven’t offered more than a monosyllabic response, it’s time to re-evaluate that friendship. Of course, what interests you will not always hold the same fascination for all of your friends, but they should at least be able to muster a supportive response. Your friends should be your fans. If all you’re getting is a, “cool story, babe” response, it might be time to cut the ties.
The one-upper We all know one of these people. They have a better phone, made a better grade, got a bigger promotion, ramble endlessly about their hot-shot connections, and their boyfriend is a part-time model. If we are being honest with ourselves, having friends like this is just exhausting. They are engaged in an endless, not-so-unspoken competition with you in their quest to prove to themselves they are doing better than everyone. Try not to get sucked in to their vicious cycle. It’s a waste of time, and often, your money.
The Debbie Downer Sometimes there is a person on a team or in a friendship who just doesn’t pull their weight. They don’t seem to have any passion for anything except going home or scrolling through Twitter. This behavior can dampen your enthusiasm unlike anything else. It also makes you bitter, because chances are you will have to do the work assigned to them in addition to your own, or you have a totally one-sided relationship. That definitely changes the atmosphere from one of optimism and ambition to one of angst and resentment. And really, who has the time for that? There is greatness to be achieved, and it probably won’t come from scrolling through Facebook during a brainstorming session or happy hour.
If you're reading this and some of your peers keep popping into your head, that's a big sign. But before going on a friend-dumping rampage, remember some of these behaviors might stem from other emotions or insecurities. If you have a one-upper friend, talk to her about her tendency to belittle your achievements in a well-thought-out way. If you're friends with a gossip queen, bring up current events next time you grab coffee and see if you can change the conversation. Ultimately, you want to be around people who build you up, so you should try and build others up as well.