Recently I’ve been giving a lecture about how we will become like the people we hang out with. It’s true. In five years, you’ll become a conglomerate of the people you spend the most time with. In fact, if I wanted to know who you were going to be five years from now, I’d not ask what you do, what education you have, what you eat or whether you exercise, though all those things have an impact. Instead, I’d want to spend a little time with the folks you spend time with. That alone would tell me who you were going to become.
We are intensely relational beings. We become like each other. It’s just a fact.The post struck me because it is something I've been thinking about a lot recently. How the truly big ideas are usually incubated in a group of people before they spread. How they get developed in conversations over coffee. I've also been thinking about growth and the shaping of myself and how much I learn from my friends.
I once read a quote by Anne Lamot that if you are a writer and you don't have good material, then you need funnier friends. What if the same is true in life? If you are not happy with your current circumstances, then what if part of the equation is to upgrade your friends?
Of course then the question becomes...where do you find friends?
It occurs to me that some of the best places to meet people are around activities. Churches, volunteering for philanthropic endeavors you are passionate about, small art or yoga studios, recreation centers that have classes... The key is frequency of attendance and openness to connect.
In our busy, fragmented lives, we have to choose community. It doesn't just happen on its own. And the more you can create proximity and shared experience, the tighter those bonds become.