“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

—Jim Rohn

I recently came upon this quote and it really resonated with me. I have felt, especially in recent years, that it was important to elevate the overall quality of people who are in our inner circle of friends. However, at the same time, I often wonder if that isn’t a bit of an arrogant way of thinking. I would never want it to seem that it meant certain people aren’t “good enough,” or to classify people in any particular way. I think of it as keeping the people who enrich your life and lift you up as your closest friends. Those whom, after spending time with them, always make you feel the better for it. They make you more joyful and grateful for having them in your life. And hopefully that’s a two-way street! So, after reading that quote, I pondered it for a while and thought about those friends in my life right now. I started to feel really lucky. And immensely grateful. And then I started thinking about that law of averages and realized that the quote is A-OK with me. Having five friends (I don’t really spend regular time with any family now, so I’m not including family members, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who can include family as one or two of their five people) who are wonderful, beautiful humans makes ME a better person for it. 

If you consciously elevate your circle of friends (or influence), it will naturally tend to reduce the number of people in your life who aren’t contributing positively to a mutual relationship. If you find you feel uncomfortable around certain people, or the relationship feels forced at times, it is likely that it is a relationship that has run its course or is simply no longer necessary for your growth or enrichment. It’s OK to let those go, in favor of more positive ones. As you move through the decades of your life, I think it’s pretty normal to filter and refine friends as priorities change and you meet new people, though some will be with you for your lifetime if you’re lucky. The next well-known quote speaks to just that: 

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”

—Brian A. ‘Drew’ Chalke

I’ve always believed this is how friendships go. It’s a natural ebb and flow as you move through life maturing, learning, growing… I just know that I have become very discerning and, again, I have been very lucky to find such precious friends in my life. Here are a couple more good quotes to end with. I hope everyone has five amazing people to raise your average with!

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” —Oprah Winfrey

“Friendship is a strong and habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and happiness of one another.”

—Eustace Budgell