The people we surround ourselves with can influence our mood, so why shouldn’t we choose positive friends? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “We’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Therefore, we should use discernment when allowing people into our lives. You might not be able to pick your family, but you can cultivate friendships wisely.
It doesn’t make you rude or selfish to be selective about the company you keep. We all must protect our energy, so we should pick friends who will uplift us rather than bring us down. Quality friends can help us weather the storms of life and celebrate with us in the good times.
Close friends and family make life worth living at the end of the day. In our not-so-distant past, humans relied on one another for protection, survival, and an emotional bond. In modern times, our basic needs for social relationships and security remain the same.
We can attract more meaningful, inspiring friendships into our lives by emitting a positive attitude. Below, we will explain more about how positive friends can enrich your life.
Therapist Reveals Five Reasons to Have Positive Friendships
1. Our brain waves sync up with those we spend time around.
The people we hang out with can influence our thought processes, behaviors, and personalities. That explains why people feel more drawn to others with similar personality traits and beliefs. But, it goes even deeper than just a bond built on commonalities.
Research shows that a phenomenon known as neural coupling creates connections between people’s feelings and actions. As we spend more time with someone, our brains start forming nearly identical neural pathways.
For example, one study found that close friends’ brains responded similarly after watching the same video clips. The friends showed similar neural responses in brain regions associated with attention, emotional processing, and memory.
Whether they watched videos about outer space or improv comedy, they had congruent brain patterns. The researchers could even guess the depth of participants’ relationships based solely on their brain scans.
Another study on moviegoers showed similar findings. Researchers discovered that people’s brains produced the same patterns when they watched engaging trailers.
“The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them,” Moran Cerf, one of the study’s authors, told Insider. “This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.”
Cerf, a neuroscientist from Northwestern University, said that if people want to minimize stress, they should choose positive friends. Since we emulate the behaviors of those around us, it benefits us to pick friends with desirable characteristics.
2. Positive friends can improve our mental health.
Just as happiness can be contagious, so can a sour mood. Surrounding yourself with positivity gives you protection from the low energies of others and makes you feel more vibrant.
For example, think of a time when you hung out with an inspiring friend. You probably left the encounter with a more optimistic attitude about life. On the other hand, friendships with negative people can drain your energy and leave you discouraged.
One of the longest-running studies on psychosocial indicators of healthy aging found that quality relationships predict well-being more than any other factor. That means having positive friends can ensure your happiness well into your golden years.
3. They motivate us to become the best versions of ourselves.
Prioritizing friendships with those who want to improve themselves can impact us positively. We become similar to people we spend time with, so choosing friends is essential. For example, seek friendships with health-conscious people if you want to exercise more often. If you aspire to own a business, you might befriend local businesspeople to learn the ropes.
Essentially, those passionate about self-development make excellent friends because of their enthusiasm. They want to see others around them succeed and don’t hesitate to offer their advice.
4. Positive friends increase our self-esteem.
A positive friendship gives us a sense of belonging and bolsters our self-confidence. People who feel comfortable in their skin radiate that energy naturally to others. They have an innate magnetism that draws people in and puts them at ease.
Self-assured people don’t need to drag others down to feel good about themselves. They have done the inner work to heal their demons and unlock their full potential. Therefore, they have only love and kindness in their hearts, which helps break down barriers between people. Everyone around them benefits from the wellspring of positive vibes they share with others.
5. They never judge people and only have empathy for them.
Positive friends accept everything about us, flaws, fears, doubts, and all. They have nothing but empathy and compassion for their closest friends and stand by their side through difficult times.
While they have an uplifting personality, they also understand that life throws curveballs at times. When friends need a shoulder to cry on, they’re the first to show up with ice cream and movies.
A cheerful friend never judges people; they only seek to understand them. They care deeply for their close friends and have their best intentions at heart. You want this type of friend in your circle because they will never let you down.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Positive Friends
Some people feel closer to their friends than their flesh and blood. We share so much of ourselves with friends that they eventually feel like family. Having positive friends makes even the most miserable days seem a bit brighter.
They celebrate our wins and mourn our losses, make us laugh about random things, and give our lives meaning. Most of us couldn’t get through this crazy life without help from our friends.
The people we hang out with affect us profoundly, even changing our brain patterns! Hopefully, you have friends who bring out the best in you and make your soul happy.