A few years ago, if you have asked me about the person whom I aspire to be, I would definitely say: I want to become a highly social person. A guy who know everyone and liked by everyone. This was my perception of the ideal person.
But I had little choice. Because in my world, as a teenager, everyone perceives the social person as the most valuable. He is the person who gets respect from men and love from women.
I did my best to become a popular person. I read many books, watched a ton of videos, and practiced a lot. My social skills improved dramatically. And as a result, I made many friends and finally became social.
The social skills that I developed were absolutely worthwhile of all the time and effort put into them. They made me, without any doubt, a much better person. I became a person who can start a conversation with any stranger — which has been almost impossible for me before.
Nevertheless, I felt that something was not quite right. The increased amount of validation I got boosted my self-esteem. But at the same time, it made me feel pathetic. Because I was always in need of people to validate me to feel good about myself. I was emotionally dependent on them.
The increasing amount of friends made me feel social. But at the same time, I felt lonely. Perhaps more than ever before. Because I wasn’t able to connect with them. I did not feel understood and was unable to communicate my thoughts and interests with them.
Furthermore, I started to feel that the whole process of making connections, investing in them, and trying to keep them alive was completely meaningless. Because the vast majority of people I knew were adding no value whatsoever to my life. In fact, they were just holding me back and wasting my time and energy. They weren’t helping me to progress in my life at all.
What I discovered, later on, is that the only reason I was in a relationship with these people is because of the fake feeling of importance I got from being social and also the external validation.
I wasn’t interested in having quality relationships. I was interested merely in being social and liked by others. What mattered to me was having many people in my life who like me. Regardless of who they are, of their personalities, interests, and abilities. Regardless of their quality as individuals and if they were good for me or not.
It’s Not About How Many Friends You Have. It’s About Who They Are.
Society appreciates the person who has a big social circle and admires him. And this very reason is the main factor that makes many people, as it made me, give huge value to being social and popular.
Because in the end, we adopt the values of our society. If people value a certain quality, we tend to do the same thing. And when we develop that quality we get a lot of external validation as a reward.
Furthermore, society focus on appearances. When most people see a person who is surrounded by many friends, they automatically conclude that he has a great social life. Without considering the quality of his relationships. Which is the most important thing.
To always be surrounded by people does not mean that you have a good social life. Yes, by definition, you are social. But still, if you are unable to communicate with your friends in a deep and effective way, if they do not help you grow better and stronger, or if they not want the best for you, then your social life actually sucks.
In other words, no matter how many people you have in your life, they are only a waste of time and energy if they add no value to your life.
It’s better to have one good friend who adds real value to your life than to have tens of friends who are serves nothing.
Choose Friends Whom You Can Communicate With Deeply And Effectively.
It’s very surprising to know that people, today, feel lonely more than at any time in history. A study was done where thousands of people got asked about how many people they have in their life whom they trust, rely on in hard times, and feel very close to.
The answer average answer was striking and beyond anyone's expectations. It was 0. Yes, zero.
The loneliness became a pandemic when almost everyone has the ability to talk with many people at the same time and from anywhere in the world. And when the average person has hundreds of friends and followers on social media.
If this proves something it would be that having many people in our lives does not prevents us from feeling lonely. Because if we can’t connect effectively with them, no matter how big is their number, we would feel lonely.
What prevents us from feeling lonely is having deep connections where we can express ourselves freely and be understood. Not having too many superficial relationships.
Therefore it is just a waste of time and energy to aim at being a highly social and popular person, trying to have as many friends and acquaintances as possible. It’s wiser to focus on building just a few relationships with people whom you could actually connect with.
Choosing friends who have the same interests as us, whom we have things in common with, and who are reading to listen without judgments, grants us good relationships that ease our loneliness and increase our happiness.
Choose Good Friends Who Want The Best For You.
It’s very important to have people in our lives who are good and care about your well-being as much as they care about their own.
But unfortunately, this is a rare feature to find in a friend because most people are just too self-absorbed to care about your personal needs. All they care about is gratifying their own.
Furthermore, they would use you for their own benefit if they could. They would just get and get and get without giving anything back. As long as you allow them to do so.
Again, this is another reason why being social is meaningless in itself. You could have a great number of friends, but if they are selfish, then you would have a very hard time being in a relationship with them.
Letting anyone enters our life before knowing who he really is, thinking that the more people we have in our life the better it is, is a big mistake. Because if one toxic person enters our life, he will ruin it. He will cause so much misery and pain that we would regret meeting him.
In fact, the more people we invite to our life without proper examination of their personalities, the more likely that many of them would turn out to be bad.
Don’t let appearances or your own self-delusion fool you. Try to see people as they actually are. Not as you want them to be or how they want you to see them. If someone proves to be a bad person, directly get him out of your life.
On the other hand, if someone proves to be a good person who would want you both to be happy and fulfilled, then this is someone who actually deserves to be in your life.
Choose Friends Who Help You Grow in Your Life.
You are the average of the five people whom you spend the most time with.
This a quote you shouldn’t ignore if you want to create a good and happy life for yourself. Because hanging out with people without being aware of the way they affect you could be deadly for progress, success, and happiness.
You should definitely know if people whom you spend your time with are facilitating your development and the achievement of your goals or not.
Personally, I’ve made the mistake of being in a relationship with persons who are unambitious, negative, and lazy. And I paid a high price for that.
At that time, I wasn’t aware of there negative effect on me because all I cared about was having many friends who like me, regardless of their effect on me.
I felt good about myself because I had many friends. I thought I was awesome. But in reality, hanging out with those people only made just the opposite of that — a loser with no ambition or discipline.
When I remember these times now, I feel ashamed. Ashamed of wasting a lot of time and energy on hanging out with losers. But I’ve learned my lesson.
The most important thing I learned is that being alone and progressing is better than being social and only getting worse. So today I would rather be alone than being with friends who do not help me grow.
You may think that you are able to have a good future even though people around you are losers. But in truth, you can’t. We are unconsciously getting affected by the moods and patterns of thinking of people around as.
Therefore if your friends are negative, unambitious, lazy, or have any other quality that limits their progress in life; then you will be affected by them, without even knowing. And if they did not make you like them, they will at least slow your growth considerably.
There is nothing of value in keeping relationships that block your progress in life. Get rid of anyone who stands between you and your best version.
Being social is meaningless in itself. Because the important thing is not having many friends but having friends who are good for you — friends whom you connect with, who help you grow, and care about you. It’s about quality, not quantity.
One good friend is better than tens of friends whose existence in your life does not serve you.
Invest in building meaningful relationships that serve a real purpose in your life. Relationships that bring you closer to people like you, facilitate your growth, and make you happier and more fulfilled.
If the relationships you are in do not truly serve you, then they are merely a waste of your time and energy, which could be spent on more important things.