Do You Have Poison Pals? Inspirations on Female Friendships | by Juli Rathke

You may have heard the saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When I first reflected on this after being asked to present at a women’s conference this past summer which used this phrase as their power statement, I was kind of surprised at what would soon ensue. What came up for me is what also seems to be coming up for a lot of others when discussing the impact that friendships have on women and the direct result of accomplishing their life’s goals. What I have found is that having the right friends is part of steering your life in the right direction, and if things are not going so well, perhaps it’s time to a look at your own average.

You are the average of the FIVE people you spend the most time with.

Are you sizing up? 

We all have them, that one friend who always seems to need something from you. Then you have another friend that no matter what will complain about something regardless of how amazing her life really is. So what makes a good friend then? Here is what I have discovered when looking at my own friendship circles with the intention of truly surrounding myself with people who help me “up my average” and make me feel like I am being true to who I really am and working towards my personal goals.

What makes a good friend?

  1. Make sure your friends offer emotional support and guidance.
  2. Determine if there is a good balance of give and take.
  3. Decide if your friends bring out the best in you.
  4. Having things in common is essential. (Just having kids the same page doesn’t make for a good friend.)

Out with the old

So what do you do if you have to let a friend go? It isn’t easy; there is a lot of guilt that may surface when you’ve made the decision that a friendship isn’t supporting you any longer. When I have had to do this, I have simply just backed away. No lessons need to be taught and no feelings need to be hurt. I was able to simply state the honest fact that I was busy doing other things.

This process created more space for new friends that were more supportive of what I strive to be on a daily basis, friends who supported my yoga lifestyle, and who are genuinely interested in my work and travels instead of judging me by it.

This simple practice has been an amazing topic on my retreats over the past year, with my mentoring clients and just other women in my life. The tendency for women is to keep connections, even the toxic ones. So, I think we all need the reminder once in awhile that it’s okay to step back and politely say “no”.

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