Judy called again this morning.
Stacey dreaded these calls. Mostly she just listened to Judy ramble on. However, today Judy asked to meet for lunch. Stacey agreed, but now regretted her decision. It was sure to be a long lunch.
The last time they met for lunch, it was 90 minutes of complaining about her husband. Every time Stacey tried to turn the conversation to something more positive, Judy kept right on talking. Stacey left lunch completely exhausted, not to mention discouraged.
Why did she agree to another lunch?
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
I recently heard this quote by Jim Rohn that got me thinking.
If I am the average of five people, what does my average look like? And, is it what I want it to look like?
Early in our marriage, it was easier to connect with friends my age. We were young college students, living in similar conditions, and in the same life circumstances. There seemed to be an instant camaraderie.
When the children arrived, there was less time for friendships. Still, our small circle of friends was pretty close. We were there for each other.
However, life changed. We moved to a large city. The pace of life increased. Our children were older. It seemed like friendships took longer to develop. The instant camaraderie of college and early married days was missing.
One day I found myself sitting at a table with a “friend” who sucked me dry. The experience left me exhausted, depressed, and entirely discouraged. The toxic friendship clues were there:
• The person was more interested in telling than listening – no one could get a word in edgewise
• The person spouted complaints, laced with irritation, about family life, especially their spouse
• The person’s normal response to life circumstances was negative
• This person never owned responsibility for their life — victim mentality
Each time we met together I wondered, “Why do I allow this relationship to continue?” I left each encounter feeling emotionally tapped out.
Friendships. We all need them. But not when they are toxic.
Some toxic relationships are harder to identify than others. They sneak up on us because we don’t immediately sense the negative drain. For instance, a friend who spends most of their conversation telling coarse jokes. Or, the acquaintance who complains about their job in every conversation. Eventually, you realize that time with these people creates feelings of anger, frustration, or discontent.
Going back to Jim Rohn’s statement, how do you assess your average?
1. Evaluate your friendships carefully. Be intentional in your friendships. Honestly look at your inner circle of friends. What kind of person are you when you are with your friends? Are you Life-giving to them? Are your friends positive or negative? Are they energizing to be around? Does your soul feel lighter after spending time with them? Toxic friends drain you. Life-giving friends energize you.
2. Adjust your average if necessary. Are there any changes you need to make in your relationships? How are you going to make those changes? If you identify a toxic relationship, you need to decide to end it. This could be as easy as not being available to meet for coffee the next time they call, and the next and the next. Or, it may mean a difficult, honest, lLife-giving conversation with that person about their toxic behavior. If they hear you, perhaps the conversation will be a catalyst for change in their life. Remember: you can’t change them; you can only change yourself.
3. Decide who you want to be. Who do you want to be? Think about this question for awhile. Ask a few friends to describe you in one or two sentences. Then, check their responses against your desire for yourself. Toxic people attract negative friends. Are you building into your friends? If not, why not? Spend time investing in others first. Placing your focus on others matures you into the person you desire to be.
4. Determine your changes and take action. Identify the type of person that will help you mature into the person you wish to be. Are they currently in your circle of friends? If not, where might you cultivate those relationships? Perhaps it’s a coworker who works with quiet confidence. Invite her out to lunch and learn her story. Or maybe it’s a mom you’ve admired. Ask if you could meet for a play date with the kids and get to know her. Pray for opportunities to develop friendships with people who will help you become the person you wish to be.
After hearing this quote from Jim Rohn, I’m evaluating my friendships.
Am I bringing Life to my friends through my actions and words?
What friendships do I need to cultivate?
Are there relationships I need to minimize?
Am I becoming the person I wish to be?
Whether you are a CEO of a business or CEO of your home, your average matters.
Look at your top 5 relationships. Are any of them toxic or heading that way? Into which ones do you need to put more effort into; which needs to have less effort or even be eliminated? Like me, you may be astonished at what you discover.
Capture the extraordinary in the ordinary moments today.