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You Are Who You Hang With

You Are Who You Hang With

With social media tools we have the ability to instantly become a citizen of the world. We probably have more interactions in a single day than many people from our grandparents times met in their whole life. This has both advantages and negatives, and navigating these will have a profound impact on your happiness and your success.

Fact is some people make you feel better, lift you up, inform and entertain, while others seem to be on a mission to depress, annoy, enrage. Sorting the edifying from the toxic is a habit to get into early and often!

Build a Positive Network

  • Read and follow people who inspire or motivate you
  • Surround yourself with positive influences rather than people who bring you down
  • Do not get drawn into protracted debates or arguments
  • Block people who routinely aggravate you
  • Avoid scenarios where you get drawn into negativity
  • Seek out people who are succeeding at what you want to do and observe how they behave and think
  • Find the learning opportunity in every interaction

Being a Good Networker

This isn’t just about having a positive network, it is also important to be a good member of other people’s networks.

One factor to avoid is the idea that people in your network should somehow be “useful”. If you are tempted to think “what have you done for me lately” then shake that off right now. Nobody likes a user, and most of us have a well tuned user-radar. Instead of what have they done for you, what have you done for them? Why would someone keep your details in their address book?

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If you value your contacts, and they match the positive attributes mentioned above, with none of the negatives, are they not work keeping in touch with and doing the odd favor for?

How do you grow and maintain a good group of friends and contacts? Please share in the comments …

View Comments (11)
  • This is one of those ancient pieces of wisdom with translates into various parts of your life. It needs to be revisited as it is very easy to forget it and lead you to lower your quality threshold.

    Having low quality friends will cost you money.

  • Mmm Chris, I love the timing of this article. In the past couple of months, I’ve done a lot of work surrounding everything from my exposure to the media to who I chat with online.

    A lot of growing and maintaining a good group of contacts is related to attraction–like attracting like. The more I focus on being kind, positive and helpful, the more I tend to attract the same. It builds upon itself. I used to let myself get grumpy about politics and things I’d read online, and I would attract folks of similar persuasions. The first step toward finding better contacts started with me…I can’t control others–I can only control myself.

    So I filter, and it’s what i recommend others do.

    You can:
    remove some tweeters who were way off course from where you’re at
    -censor what media you expose myself to
    -extract yourself from business relationships, or even professional alignments, where you feel less than valuable or worthy…where the people bring you down and judge you more than uplift you.
    -and as Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world” — perhaps the most important of all :).

    The more you complain, the more you attract complainers. The more you’re convinced we’re all headed for Great Depression #2, the more you find your business suffers.

    However, the more you appreciate everything just as it is in this moment, the more you are rewarded with the same and better. The more you are kind, giving, professional and ethical in your dealings, the more you attract the same with clients, professional relationships, etc.

    It is possible for every client situation, every contact, every dealing to be joy filled, prosperous and inspirational. Believing that it’s possible, and then feeling and acting accordingly, is what makes it so.

    I wake up every day loving my business, life, clients and other relationships. My clients treat me with respect; in turn, I do all I can to continue to add a heap of value into their lives. I expect the relationships will be positive for both parties…and the more I have expected this, the more I have seen my business thrive and evolve in an incredible and inspired direction.

  • @Lyndon – Indeed, and it seems we often forget just when remembering would be most important. I am grateful that the vast majority of people I have contact with are good people :)

    @Reese – Excellent point about media – I keep trying to get my parents to stop watching certain news programs and reading papers that are bad for their blood pressure. First thing my dad says when he meets me is the latest bad news or rant from the media! :)

  • @Chris LOL about your dad! One of the reasons I’m grateful at times to be here (in Malaysia) is not having to hear the grousing from my family about all the ‘bad news.’

    Seriously not cool for the old blood pressure, yet people are convinced if they don’t watch, they will (I heard this from one family member) “Not be prepared.” (Me: “For what?” “they’ will ‘pull the wool over my e yes and try to trick me. I have to make sure I’m up to date for a debate.”

    *blink. blink*

    So much fear, and so unnecessary.

  • Yes agree on the whole Chris – but sometimes things aren’t always what they seem!

    Many years ago I remember reading something about how negative people would in turn bring you down also. Shortly after reading this I ended up having to sit next to someone at work who was the epitome of this, and had to listen to this persons incessant moaning, negativity and defeatism all day, every day. It was twice as challenging as not only was it depressing, I was worried about how it was affecting me because of what I’d read.

    However, slowly and I don’t know why, I began it find it funny. This person moaned at absolutely everything (but was articulate and elborated on why he was unhappy) and I even began to anticipate how he would react to things I knew were coming up. I’m not kidding, it was hilarious, and in the end I would often end up in hysterics at this person’s moans, complaints and gloomy outlook. He didn’t have a problem with that fortunately.

    So, after a while of hating his moaning, I then found it wasn’t a problem – and then found it funny and in the end I actively encouraged it. Which he liked so we both got something out of it ho ho ! There’s humour everywhere if you’re open to it.

    I’m not saying it works all the time and I think you have to like a person to find their moaning funny! But nowadays I don’t write peope off just because they’re not as upbeat as perhaps they should be.

  • @Al – Nice story, will have to ask you about that in private :) If you look over my bullets though they actually agree with what you say – sometimes it is not so much what the other person puts out but how it affects you and alters your behavior – you found a way to see humor in it so it worked for you, but if it had brought you down then escaping might have been the better choice :)

  • Chris,

    Awesome post – thanks.

    I saw a video about this topic last week on Martin Seligmen shared some research that pointed out the main difference between extremely happy people and people who are depressed. Putting clinical issues aside, the study concluded that extremely happy people are much more social – and surround themselves with positive friends.

    Of course, we have our own inner life that determines success, but the environment plays a huge role.

    In answer to your question, “How do you grow and maintain a good group of friends and contacts?”

    1 – I stay in touch – consistently.
    2 – With my closest pals in social media, I bring things to the next level – phone calls, coffee, post cards, letters, teddy bears.


  • This is an area I’m working on. It’s so hard to fit everything I need to do in a day, but the few connections I’ve made are invaluable to me. As I’m able to spend more time just getting to know people, the more I love making connections.

    Thanks for the list………………..:)

  • I enjoyed the article very much, Chris. Networking is such a challenge, though.

    I did a blog post called networking a while back and got some interesting comments from young and old about the joys and pitfalls of social networking.

    It is possible to maintain only a certain number of strong relationships. It’s simply a matter of the realities of our individual limits on time and emotional energy. The modern phenomenon of networking is fantastic in comparison, as you pointed out, with what people have known for millennia. The fact that we can post something on our blog and have an audience in all parts of the world is still mind-boggling to me!

    But we each need to be careful not to try to spread ourselves too thin with all the possibilities at our disposal. It can so easily eat away at our energy, fruitfulness, and joy, as happens with any other addiction. There’s great power in knowing when and to whom to say NO.

  • Great post, and a great reminder. It’s amazing what can happen when you start surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people in life.

  • Chris,
    This reminds me of the concept of “ubuntu.” Derived from the African Bantu language, the word roughly translates as “I am what I am because of what we all are together.” (And, it’s also the name of an open source OS and the rallying cry of the Boston Celtics!) We achieve our potential through others—by being unselfish, generous, and trustworthy. That’s the philosophy I work hard to embrace.

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