I was reading an article the other day by Craig Ballantyne of Early to Rise.
It was all about spending time with people who can do real good in your life, and for whom you can do good back to them/for them. Like a support system but made up of people rather than anything materialistic.
It really hit me this article because although I love to be surrounded by positive people they are not always that easy to track down and this was basically a great piece on how to go about finding good people in your life.
Finding Positive People
Now I don’t know about you but I always just thought that while you can make a few decisions basically most of the people in your life come from either family, extended family, college, school and Uni friends and if you’re lucky a few extra from your working world.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. You can actually choose the people you want to spend time with, and you can do it in just three steps:
Step 1) Identify what you value in people.
Step 2) Identify where this type of person spends time.
Step 3) Go there.
Courtesy of Early to Rise.
We’ll get into values in a moment but if you think about it everyone you spend time with at this very moment are the people you like (obviously because they make you feel good, enjoy your company and somewhere along the line, you gelled with them).
But Why and How did you Gel with your Friends?
Thinking about the people I do enjoy spending time with (and to be honest there aren’t that many as I’m an introvert and prefer my own company), they are the ones that are funny, creative, reliable, like a deep conversation and are in no way egotistical. I come away from them feeling good about them and good about myself.
The people I like sharing time with over an internet connection are big believers, huge dreamers and all into creating things.
What do both these sets of people have in common? Well, they all have core values that I identify with. Values I strongly believe in. They make me who I am.
So, then I thought, well what if (because the world is a pretty big place) I expanded my circle of friends, based on the three steps above. Would I be able to? Is it really that easy to ‘hunt’ people down that share my core values, especially when I find anything social group related rather daunting and horribly draining.
Could I Actually Invent my Own World?
Well actually social media doesn’t make that happening all that difficult. I’ve pretty much set the list of people I follow, on say Twitter, to be all those that share my core values.
Of all the social media sources I use I have to say Twitter is most comfortable to me because I am conversing only with people who, like me, are enthusiastic about gardening, or photography, or writing. Who are polite and courteous on-line (at least) and who are positive and pro-active about life (that doesn’t mean to say they are always that positive off line, but I don’t get to see/hear that).
Outside of social media it’s slightly harder. I have in the past been part of green groups, writing groups, gay groups and even tennis groups to share what I thought would be core values but it never really seemed to turn out well.
Any group of people tends to have the full plethra of personalities most of which I come away from wondering what the hell we all had in common because I felt more often than not rather uncomfortable and not excited or enthused as perhaps I’d expect?
I never blame them, it’s totally my fault as I never really give these groups more than a couple of tries.
Looking at This a Different Way
However rather than groups it would seem I need to be thinking in more individual and specific terms – like and dislikes are one thing.
I like gardening – a lot of people like gardening but that is not the same as being passionate about growing vegetables, not using pesticides, not being bothered about entering competitions, not even wanting to share my gardening space with anyone.
So what I need to find are people that also are deeply passionate about what they do in their garden but who keep it fun and who, like me, don’t want to have a regular meeting about it but just discuss the good and challenging things about growing veggies.
Same with other values – I love being around positive people. Not the ones that are so positive they come across all cheesy with a hint of boring to them. I mean the people that don’t even know they are beaming out their positivity to others. The people you come away from feeling pumped up by. Not the ones that leave you feeling downright jealous, or sad or helpless.
Again, on-line it’s great and easy to find such positive people but in real life where do these people live let alone reside? It’s not like you can be positive 100% of the time (how bloody knackering would that be?), and short of finding a life coach that’s paid to be ‘cheerful’, these people sound rather elusive.
It’s a bit of an expensive trek to keep heading over to America every time I need my ‘good’ feelings topped up (although it would be worth it because I got such a buzz from NYC), so rather than look for the people I need to spend time with perhaps I need to be the person other people want to spend time with….
Makes you think…
What are your core values and do people you share time with have those same values?
Do you think it’s possible to surround yourself with totally positive people?
Cover Photo courtesy of Arielle Nadel
I’m a solitary grump. I doubt many people would like to spend time with me. I’m no good at spending time with other people either – I get itchy feet when people stop to talk while I’m taking pictures. It’s one of the troubles of living in a small-population area. There aren’t even any groups I would want to join. SO – this is where the internet comes in. I can manage to be friendly for as long as a comment or a blog post – then retire into almost-silence . . . and everyone can think (wrongly!) that I’d be scintillating, uplifting company if only we could meet. I rather like that illusion.
Sounds like a very good plan to me Lucy. I know what you mean about people wanting to chat. I thought having a doggy would allow me to go for nice long – quiet – walks but everyone that sees Mouse always wants to stop and say hello. I very often end skipping sides of the street or field just to avoid strangers. Not because I don’t like them (I don’t know them), but just because I don’t want to do the chit chat thing.
I tend to enjoy the company of unfiltered folks. I do so much at work with tact and others-management that when I do want to spend time with people, I want them to be exactly who they are, warts and all, and to accept that I will be the same. If there are games to play or I have to tip toe around them, I will not enjoy my time. That said, they do tend to be positive (the people who bond over complaints baffle me) and they tend to be witty, kind, and playful or creative (or both.)
A new friend of mine did create her own group. She’d tried other mom groups as a new mom and found they were not for her. So she created an online group (she used Facebook) of all of the non-judgemental, lack of ego, supportive and positive (but real) first time moms she knew. I was fortunate enough to be invited to this group and it is the first group I’ve joined in a very long time that feels like I may make a real friend or two from (instead of simply learning information like it’s a class or getting a release like from a soccer team.) Sorry for the run on sentences, I’m a bit sleep deprived these days 🙂 thank you again for your thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I really enjoy them.
Couldn’t agree more. I’d rather people be themselves then act out of character because it takes far too much effort for very little gain.
Facebook groups are becoming more and more popular for sharing news and a way of making friends. Like anything you have to put the effort in to make it worthwhile and not expect every one else to take the lead all the time – which is much easier for me online because I can think about what message I want to say before posting which gives me that extra time (which f2f doesn’t always allow) to construct my words.
P.s. Lucy, you sound similar (from this very small sample) to my husband and best friend 🙂
Thought provoking post Sophie, I work as a gardener, so a great deal of my time is spent in my own company, which just bird song and the radio for company. I love it. My husband works with lots of people, when he comes home he likes some solitude and me time and no people to “deal with”. I don’t know the answer, but keeping things in perspective always helps for me, have a great weekend. 🙂
Agree with your statement about being the kind of person people want ti spend time with!
I think Julie’s life sounds like heaven! (although she didn’t mention mosquitoes)
The groups on LinkedIn are OK. I’m in a few but mostly contribute to writer’s groups, civic society and WordPress groups. There are lots and you do make a few friends.I think I share more on Facebook than Twitter. A sense of humour is important if you’re introverted. I’m trying to make an effort to mix more offline. I go out and photograph events and actually talk to people! 🙂
I tried Linedin a few years ago and just couldn’t get to grips with it but perhaps I should give it another go?
As long as it makes me feel happy and doesn’t drain me mentally being out and sociable then I’m all for it. Short, sharp doses are usually better for me 🙂
Interesting thoughts. People do come in a variety of of “upliftingness”. I’ve been working through what loving them and myself means in all situations. Sometimes more challenging than I’d like. One turning point came when a friend said I should be spreading love more by signing my emails “Love, Clark” I tried it once. That’s not me. but …. I’m a poet so I thought perhaps a bit of haiku (short, sometimes hard to understand 🙂 ) so I started adding short poems as email signatures dealing with love in all sorts of life situations. After a while, I had a book of them which I called “Love’s Signatures”. Interesting how things work out sometimes.
Thanks for following my blog. May you enjoy the posting journey, and please comment (or not) when something particularly strikes you. I love the little conversations that ensue.
From one introvert to another … thanks for your post.
Poems as email signatures – that’s rather unique but I like that idea. I can imagine people looked forward to receiving your emails. 😉
I look forward to reading your poetry and thanks for stopping by, it’s lovely to have a new reader 🙂