When thinking about goal setting and achieving your goals you would not necessarily think of your friendship groups. How could friends affect me achieving my next exciting goal or throw me off course with my life plan? Well think again!
You make friends along the way – in school, college, university, work and through hobbies but often a time comes when we’ve been in the same job, lived on the same street, given up those hobbies and your friendships group stays the same or maybe gets smaller. All of this can kind of creep up on you without really realising it. You are just busy with the routine of life.
This can lead to having the same circle of friends which you may not now have as much in common with when you first met them. This call also be true in respect of family, colleagues - essentially your tribe.
If you’re now setting different goals, and you have a new bold, exciting vision for what you want in your life - it’s important to look at whom you are surrounding yourself with and whose advice are you listening to.
This is not to say that you now think you’re better than other people or those people aren’t good friends or good people but it is about being mindful of their influence on you. Is it helping you or holding you back?
Are you mindful of your friendships?
Sometimes, it’s easy to realise that a friend is having a negative impact on you. It’s direct - like the friend that wants every conversation to be focused on her and doesn’t really have the time to listen to you when you would love to share your plans.
But sometime it’s much more subtle. It feels like every attempt to better your life is met with disapproval. You confide in your friend about your new goal or how you want to change your life in some way. But your friend tells you that you’ll end up disappointed when it doesn’t happen. "You’ll never be able to do that". It’s the quiet put-downs or “jokes”. They squash your dreams and the excitement before you’ve even had a chance to get going on it.
2 common types of negative friends
Negative friends can fall into two categories. The first is sometime referred to as the “Debbie Downer” friend. She often has a negative outlook on most things. There’s always a way she can automatically look for the downside in a situation, no matter how many things are going well in your life.
This negativity isn’t usually personal it just the way your friend views the world as a negative place and so she shares that view with you. Life is hard. Life is a struggle. She may call herself a “realist” but she’s far more of a cynic than she knows.
The second type is the “Safe Sally” friend. This person is concerned about risk. She cares about you and so is trying to keep you safe. She wants you to play small and stay where you are. She doesn’t expect anything new from you as she knows you so well. So if you express something new or different, she will point all the ways it could go wrong - all the risks. The only problem is this kind of thinking it can be a dream killer.
This “safe place” where your friends want you to stay is their (or your) comfort zone where everything is predictable and nothing really changes. The problem is your best self isn’t going to develop in a safe place. Creating your best life is going to develop by being courageous and trying new things without knowing whether it will work or not.
(And by the way no offence to Sallys or Debbies and of course a friend can be male or female who shows these characteristics!!)
So what do you do?
If you recognise a friend like this - how do you deal with a negative friend?
Awareness is a great first step as you can now choose if you want to subject yourself to it.
Try not to get sucked into their negativity or drama. You can do this by reducing the amount of time you spend with them or you can learn to know which subjects NOT to talk to them about. So maybe just not sharing things like your dreams or goals with them will keep the negativity away from that subject / area of your life. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as cutting them out of your life entirely. It’s just limiting their infleunce over you.
Remember that by you following your dreams and changing your life you may actually motivate and inspire your friends to see another perspective – that you CAN do things you’ve never done before and it can have a positive impact on your life. As time goes on, they may get on-board with you and start to show you that support that you hadn’t expected. You may also inspire them to make changes in their own life.
Mindful friendships are intentional friendships. You want to fill your life with people that support you and believe in your dreams.
Have you ever experienced this? What did you do? I’d love to know - let me know in the comments.
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Check out my instagram for a recent journal prompt around this subject.
Helping ladies move from feeling stuck and overwhelmed in their lives to designing & achieving their goals, dreams and ambitions. For more information on bringing positive change into your life – www.kaymalcolmcoaching.com .For more info on services (life coaching for women in UK and worldwide)