Most of us are taught from a young age to play nice with everyone; befriend those you have differences with, those you may not think are the coolest or prettiest or funniest.
This is a benevolent approach to living, but somewhere along the journey from kindergarten to middle school we forget these notions, and we may be very far into adulthood before we remember it again, if we ever do.
Being selective with your best friends becomes more strategic over the years, and for good reason. It's been said that the five people closest to you shape your success, your interests and much more about you — maybe more than we even realize.
If the people we surround ourselves with affect us so deeply — on a fundamental, human level — we should learn how to attract those we admire while phasing out toxic interactions and emotional vampires, right? Right.
We're not just talking friendships here, either: partners in romantic relationships count, too. Jim Rohn, renowned businessman and personal development guru, said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and that means everyone in your life counts.
Let's take a look at this philosophy and how you can use it to be happier, healthier, more successful and generally a better person in the coming year.
Here are a few reasons that the five people who get the majority of your time should be put in your innermost circle with purpose, not by accident.
Your intellect needs to be stimulated.
How does a muscle grow? By being placed under stress. How do you learn new information? By putting your knowledge to the test.
If you're surrounding yourself with people who never ask you tough, thought-provoking questions, you'll never be living up to your full potential to conceptualize those answers.
That's not to say every conversation has to be about politics or existentialism, but if you only hang with you current besties because it's convenient while "Vanderpump" is on, it might be time to consider whether you're getting enough intellectual stimulation out of those interactions.
Seek out those who provoke slightly uncomfortable thoughts and challenge your mind; don't take verbal sparring and mutual intellectual admiration for granted.
How's your text game these days, clever girl?
Your opinion of yourself might drastically improve.
Have you ever gotten a compliment from someone you really admire? Although it may sounds shallow, the truth is that the opinion of someone you admire is worth more to you than someone you do not.
Scheduling a lunch, coffee or other form of face time with someone you respect is all you need to begin the cycle of mutual admiration. Friends who you look up to — for their successes, their ability to forgive or be kind, for their quick wit — are always going to make you a better version of yourself.
That's the point. Hanging with someone you want to be like will make you more like them, and you're going to start realizing value in yourself where you may not have seen it before once you get more of them in your life.
You might gain a mentor, or become one.
Mentorship is a powerful concept that seldom gets attention as an aspect of friendship or a romantic relationship.
While we've all heard about mentors on an entrepreneurial level, we need personal mentors, too. Maybe it's your mom, or your sister; I found a mentor in my younger brother recently when we had a few very good conversations that made me realize he's much wiser than I ever knew.
If you find someone with qualities you hold in high regard who's willing to discuss them and help you develop those qualities on your own, keep them close, and extend your time if the tables are turned.
If you have a friend who tells you she wants to be more open to opportunities or people, like you are, think about what that means and definitely give her your time. She just pointed out something very insightful about you, and that's definitely worthy of innermost circle status.
You'll likely develop healthier habits, and that means looking and feeling better every day.
Are you hanging with a crowd that never works out, eats like crap and doesn't value a good ol' fashioned weekend off from drinking? Then kiss your 8-minute mile and summer bod aspirations goodbye until further notice.
Make time to go to yoga with that friend who's addicted to Bikram, or agree to a sleep competition with someone who's also getting fewer than six hours each night.
The possibilities are endless, but the point remains the same: Your health habits are going to be affected by your friend choices purely by merit of your proximity to salads, hiking paths and handles of Svedka.
You'll attract someone positive, amazing and conscientious about all of the above
Taking stock in the value that people add or remove from your life means you will draw someone to you who does the same, and the cycle of self-improvement and general awesomeness perpetuates itself.
If your partner is someone you admire, whose brain works in a way you can't quite figure out but always makes you want to try, whose work ethic you wish you had, who has self-awareness and drive, etc., that's all going to have a positive impact on you.
Find that guy, marry that guy, be that guy to someone else. Make the world a more positive place for everyone, starting with yourselves.
The key to all of this is to be critical of yourself — of your current actions, of your goals, of whether the two are lining up — and make changes in your life when necessary.
Do the people around you represent things you value? If they do, you're in great shape; if your five people aren't representative of things you love and aspire to become, re-evaluate.
Be honest with yourself and get ready to become the person you were always meant to be. When you're surrounded by the right group of people and in a good place within yourself, you have much to give back to them in return.