We don’t just need friends who are good with money. But our social circles will directly impact our personal finances. Maybe you have heard the Jim Rohn quote, “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Over the years, I’ve become more discerning in what percent of my time is spent with different types of people. I’m a naturally loyal-to-the-end kind of person. So the idea of pushing people out of my life was always difficult (read: impossible). But I have learned to watch my percentages of the social circle I keep and the time I give to each kind of person. There are 5 kinds of people I try to give 90% of my time, attention and social energy towards. Here’s why…
There are two elements at play here.
First, we are greatly influenced by our social circles. The research is fascinating to me. Close connections and loose connections have a significant impact on our own behavior. For everything from weight loss to fitness, happiness, depression, heart health, and smoking.
The second element is that we have a finite ability for social connections. We can only maintain a certain number of connections. There are only so many people we would visit in the hospital. Most research teases out the idea we can maintain about 150 loose connections and about 4-10 very close connections. So no matter how many friends FB says you have, there is a finite number of people that we really know, have a history with and maintain a connection with.
Let’s combine these facts. 1. Who we are friends with has a big impact on our own behavior. 2. We only have space for so many friends.
If we only have space for 150 loose connections and 4-10 close connections, I would make sure to include as many of these kinds of people as possible! This isn’t about pushing out everyone who doesn’t fit into these boxes but paying attention to our percentages. How many of our close connections are these kinds of people and how much of our time do we spend with them?
Here are my personal top 5 people.
1. Loves you unconditionally, always supportive
The person who loves you. The one who supports you to the very end. It’s not based on performance. You don’t have to earn your spot. For whatever reason, come hell or high water, they will be there. They show up. And they believe the very best about you without you even having to ask. With any luck, you share DNA and Thanksgiving with a few of these people.
The Visionary sees you very differently than you might see yourself. They see possibilities. They see the potential. Things that are invisible to others are crystal clear to them. In humble beginnings, they see the outcome 5, 10, 20 years down the road. They see the seeds in you and believe the garden is about to be incredible. Everyone else might just see the patch of dirt, but the visionary knows better.
Coaches and teachers can be amazing visionaries. I had two amazing visionaries growing up, a basketball coach and youth pastor. Both saw something in me I didn’t see at first and helped me to find it as well.
3. Emotionally Intelligent
Everyone needs this friend! I’ve needed a few along the way. They are the ones who can express love. They can articulate disappointment. They know how to apologize. They can listen to ideas they disagree with in a way that shows respect. They can ask us to own our crap in a way that still conveys love. By their example, we become better human beings. And it’s these people we will let speak truth into our lives because they have earned that right.
I’m a betterer by nature. Betterers love to make things better. They see the way things are and will learn, study, and fiddle until they know how to make things better. In relationships, businesses, words, organizations, machines, gardens, or processes, they better. With a natural curiosity for how the world works, and desire to improve, their attention to details move the needle.
Creators are often my very favorite people. Out of thin air they create something amazing. Ideas, paintings, gardens, businesses, books, HR manuals, architecture, organizations, classes or 1000 other things. I love them because to create takes gumption and bravery. They ship their work. They face critics. They take risks. And the world is better for what they created.
How the heck can we get more friends like this?!?
That’s the tough part right? Filling our friend circle was easy when we were 15, but it’s harder in later seasons of life. Our plates are more full, these amazing people have equally full plates.
Here are my two best tips.
Be more like these 5 people. Play to your strengths. Fill in the gaps in your weakness as needed. These are very attractive qualities and it will naturally draw similar people to you.
Show up. Show up for these high caliber people in ways that matter to them. Be there. Make time for a phone call. Accept the dinner invitation. Email if needed. Try to add value. Show up when it matters. Being as we have finite time and energy, make sure 90% of your time/energy is going towards these kinds of people.
But each of these 5 have a Bizarro World alter ego. Bizarro World is a planet in DC comics where everything is “weirdly inverted or opposite.” Unfortunately, in real life, each of these 5 amazing friends have a Bizarro World version.
If we have a limited bandwidth, how much space are you holding for the Bizarro World counterparts? This is something I’ve struggled with for years. I never want to leave anyone behind or let anyone go. But as you look at this list, imagine what trajectory your life would take if 90% of your time and interactions were with these kinds of people.
1. (Instead of: Love you unconditionally, Ever supportive) You will never be good enough.
You can never earn a spot. Nothing you do or say will earn you the favor you hope for. You can try your whole life, but will always fall short for this person. And they won’t show up. When it matters and when you need them, they won’t be there.
2. (Instead of: Visionary) Small, limiting beliefs about you.
These people have no ability to see you as anything more than what you are right now. In fact, they see you in the worst possible light. They can only see flaws and shortcomings. You can hustle, achieve and try to please all day long, they cling to this small, distorted version of you.
3. (Instead of: Emotionally Intelligent) Emotionally abusive or distant.
They are unavailable at best, and at their worst cause constant pain and emotional distress. They seem incapable to be loving or supportive. You can beat your head against a wall asking, “Why can’t they just (fill in the blank)….like a normal human being!” It defies logic.
4. (Instead of: Betterer) Belittler who tears down.
I think the Belittler is often a broken Betterer. Instead of using this superpower for good, they are impossibly demanding and fault finding. They will sort through every area of your life and go to great lengths to point out how you are failing their impossibly high standards.
5. (Instead of: Creator) Critic.
We live in fear of the critic. Every time you create something, try something, adventure, take risks, or speak up: you find the Critic. Their only job is to keep you in your place. If you give them enough space in your life, their words to you will become the words you speak to yourselves.
I think we all know a few of these people. Maybe we work with a few, or went to school together, or share DNA with them. They make for excellent TV, movie, and caricatures, but as less so as close companions.
Number One Predictor of Success
If I were a gambler, I would base my bets on your friend circle. How many of your closest friends are characterized by those 5 amazing qualities? How many closely fit into the Bizarro World group? Out of your 150 closest friends what percentage has one or more of those qualities?
It’s easy to get swept into the momentum. If 90-95% of our time is spent with the first group, we get caught up in the direction they are going. We become more and more like them. And good things happen in our personal finance.
If even 50% of our social interaction is with the Bizarro World friends, we get pulled down instead of swept along. Can you imagine spending 50-90% of your time surrounded by Bizarro World people? And if these are those closest to you?
All of this has a direct outcome on our personal finance.
No one finances a $50,000 car because they are bad with math. No one buys a house they can’t afford because they lack a love of spreadsheets. It’s just not that simple. If 50%+ of your close friends hail from Bizarro World and you spend 90% of your time with them, showing you a compound interest calculator won’t fix the problem.
The bonus friend.
Ok, there is one more kind of friend I HAVE to include. Because out of 150 people one or two needs to be this kind.
Connectors are people who love, and I mean love making connections. If you make space for these people they will connect you with great ideas, resources, books to read, directions to explore and the right people to meet. They maintain the largest social networks and are natural helpers. Just like the other 5 kinds of friends, show up for the connectors, make space for them, and appreciate the gift they offer.
The extra bonus.
If you can fill your social circle and mostly spend time with these 6 amazing people, you are bound to get swept along. But the extra amazing bonus? If they also happen to be good with money. That’s the jackpot!
It’s honestly icing on the cake. Not the cake itself. If you know people who are great with money, but they all hail from Bizzaro World, I would pass. Although, I have found that the people who do the best with money tend to naturally fall into the first group.
For years I mentored teenagers. Ones from broken families, who had dealt with abuse or lived far under the poverty line. They came from all sorts of situations: different nationalities, genders, income, race. Some had parents in prison, others had drug-addicted parents, some were homeless.
What they all needed was the same. They needed to see themselves differently, they needed to see the world and possibilities differently and to get there: they needed new people in their life. More than anything, they needed these 6 people in their life. If I could get 90% of the people they spent the most time with from this group of 6, everything else would fall into place.
If you are trying to get from a bad money situation to a good one. Or from a good one to a great one. Watch the company you keep! =)
How do you go about tipping the percentages in your favor in your social circle or online?
The #1 benefit I’ve had with blogging has been THIS. My subscribers, people I’ve mentored, those I’ve worked with in my courses, readers I have met up with in person, readers who comment/email and other bloggers. Thank you to everyone who has “leaned in”. I hope it’s made your life and money better. I know I’m better for having you as friends.
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