Friendship – what does it mean to you?  The dictionary says it means a relationship with a person that you know and have a bond of mutual affection with.  These are some of the most important people in your life – friendships can have a profound effect on your wellness.  They are important in sharing the good times and the bad times, in supporting you and celebrating with you.  But how do you build these essential relationships?

Curiosity is the key.  Find out what makes them tick – be attentive in learning about them and be present when with them.  Here is a quick exercise that can help develop friendships.  If you don’t already know the following about your friends or people you would like to be your friend, then ask them and really listen to the answers – not only will you discover interesting details about them, but you will also demonstrate your interest in them!

  • What are their top three goals?
  • Who is their favorite artist?
  • What are their three best life experiences?
  • What are their three worse life experiences?
  • What is their favorite meal?
  • Where is their favorite place on earth?
  • What does their perfect day look like?

Not all friendships are equal – some grow deeper while some do not.  The average person only has one or two close friends, but many experts recommend having a circle of 5-10 to enrich your life.  For example, Brendan Burchard, a motivation and performance trainer and author, advocates cultivating what he calls “growth” friends.  These are the people that really know you, encourage you to chase your dreams, and challenge you to be a better person.  But these are also people you have fun hanging out with regularly!

Businessman and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  So choose those five (or more) people wisely!  How do you identify these people – potential “growth” friends – in order to build the connection with them?  Here are questions that can help you.

  • Is this a friend you’re excited to talk with regularly?
  • Is this a friend you see as important to your future?
  • Is this a friend who would support you in a crisis and vice versa?
  • Is this a friend you admire and respect?
  • Is this a friend you’re excited to have know family and friends in your close circle?
  • Is this a friend who exposes you to new ideas and adventures?
  • Is this a friend who makes you laugh?
  • Is this a friend who cares about your wellbeing?

If the answers to these are yes, and you trust this friend to honor your most authentic self, then they belong in your circle of close friends.  If not, they can still be a friend, but don’t let them have as big an influence on you and your life.  Remember, you are in charge of your path to wellness!

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