5 Behaviours to Avoid When Selecting your Inner Circle
Humans are social animals, and we have tendency to pick up the behaviours of others. Mimicking others is useful in helping us fit into our environment, but if we are not careful we can pick up some unfavourable habits. We pick up the behaviours of the people we associate with, and because the subconscious mind is responsible for that, it is difficult to control which actions we emulate. That is why you need to be mindful of the behaviours of people you associate with, and be selective of the types of behaviours you want to reproduce. In the following article I will describe 5 habits you should beware of when deciding who you want to keep in your close circle of friends, and who you have outgrown.
1. Gossip - In any healthy relationship, trust is one of the most important requirements. If you have a friend who tends to gossip about others, you can be sure that anything you say to that person will be repeated. Those who gossip are not happy with themselves, and they will use other people as a way of deflecting from their own insecurities. While it’s not always the case, those who gossip often have a habit of being envious. Regardless, those who gossip always feel a sense of reward when they alert others of your misfortune.
Be wary, as a person who likes to gossip can be very easy to talk to, and before you know it, you might find yourself telling them things you wish you hadn’t. People with loose lips cannot be trusted with your privacy, so if you need to vent, make sure you do so only with people that you trust will not expose you. One of the biggest dangers of associating with these people is that if you say the wrong thing, they can easily destroy your relationship with others.
Success requires discipline and self control, and a person who can’t control their tongue lacks those qualities.
2. Envy - It is perfectly natural for humans to compare themselves to others. This habit can be helpful as it shows us what is possible to achieve, and can inspire us to move in the right direction. This natural habit is dangerous however, when the comparison turns into envy.
It can be difficult to tell who is envious of you because these people often pose as friends, and they might actually have a genuine interest in you that covers up their hostility. However, you can tell the that you are dealing with a person prone to envy by spotting the signs (adapted from Robert Greene's “Laws of Human Nature”). These people tend to offer backhanded compliments. For example, they might say, “your hair looks so nice, is it all yours?” Which is a covert way of calling you fake. Genuine compliments have no ulterior motive, and should leave you feeling good. Another sign is that these people enjoy spreading rumours and talking negatively about other people behind their back. To detect signs of envy, observe a person’s facial expressions when you enter the room. While people who suffer from envy mask their feelings with a smile, they will not be able to hide their true feelings when you show up unexpectedly.
In my personal experience, a good marker that someone envies you is the feeling that you have to dim down, or hide your achievements to spare that person’s feelings.
People who have a tendency toward envy make the worst kind of friends, as their jealousy will make it impossible for them to celebrate your achievements and even worse, they will get close to you in order to sabotage you. If you have a friend who tends toward envy, do all that you can to distance yourself from that person.
3. Negative thinking - These types are constantly complaining and blaming others. They will look for a flaw in everything, and create excuses as to why they themselves have not achieved the life they wish to live. In my experience, they types often complain about society and blame racial issues, and gender inequality, before examining what part they have to play in their own suffering. Of course, racism and gender inequality do create real challenges in life, but the fear of having to face these issues often holds people back more than the issues themselves.
People with negative thinking habits often have good intentions, but are unable to yield the results they want because they focus on problems instead of solutions. When they think they are offering you support, cynical people will put effort into filling you with doubts and fears, instead of offering inspiration and encouragement. Even worse, if you spend enough time with these people you too will begin to think and talk negatively, and you will lose focus and motivation.
4. Entertaining toxic relationships - People that entertain toxic relationships act flakey, secretive, and are constantly are dealing with the same problems. People who hold onto relationships that don't serve them have a mindset of lack, and do not believe that better awaits them.
Choosing to be close to people that are struggling with their relationships will often place you in a therapist role. Where professional therapists have the luxury of being emotionally removed from their patients, and are paid to give advice and support, friends don’t have that advantage. It is draining to the spirit to support someone who chooses to make the same mistakes time over. Reversely, if you come across any challenges in your other relationships, this friend will be unable to give you sound advice, because they clearly have not figured out healthy ways of solving their own relationship problems.
Like negative thinking, if you do not avoid these behaviours, you too will start believing that you deserve less than excellence.
5. Unhealthy consumption - Unhealthy consumption habits include the obvious drugs and alcohol, but you also want to stay away from people who participate in unhealthy eating, and those who consume negative media such as the news and violent films.
The danger of associating with people who have negative consumption habits is that if you will inevitably copy them. It is crucial that you avoid these people, especially if you have ever experienced poor consumption habits yourself. For example, if you are no longer a drinker, then the best course of action would be to spend your time with people who choose not to drink.
Stay away from people who waste their time and money on poor consumption habits, or next thing you know you will find yourself smoking poppers and binge watching television instead of taking action on your goals.
Keep in mind that not everyone shares the same level of awareness, and you must even ask yourself if you emulate any of the 5 negative tendencies. I am the first to admit that I have been guilty of all of the habits, at one time or another in my life. That’s why I avoid judging people who have these tendencies. Avoid being cruel or “cutting people off” and instead distance yourself by becoming busy working on your goals, and spend your time with people who nurture your growth.
Don’t worry if you find that this list eliminates a lot of your friends, because the peace and happiness you will find is well worth it. In my next blog post I will give you a list of 5 positive traits of people you want to attract into your life, and soon your inner circle will be full and vibrant.