Birds of A Feather Flock Together – You are Who You Hang With
You don’t have to be a social scientist to get that people like to hang out with those who they share common interests with. In some ways, we never leave our high school cafeterias where the jocks sat at the table with the jocks, the cheerleaders with the cheerleaders, and the AV Club nerds with the AV club nerds.
In adulthood, the groups and settings change a bit but, in the end, we find moms hanging with other moms, millionaires hanging with other millionaires, and golfers hanging with other golfers. Heck, if you go to the right places, you can even find losers hanging with other losers. The people you choose to surround yourself with says a lot about who you are.
Like-minded folk hanging together is a good thing overall. Why not enjoy the company of people who speak your language and share your interests and values? There is nothing more natural. That is, there is nothing more natural until you decide to make a change.
The hardest place to try to change is in the middle of a group who were comfortable with you the way you were before you decided to change. A reality in the universe is that the only constant is change and few people like that change. Change is so traumatic to some that there are whole industries built around helping corporations navigate its rough waters. We all like comfort and predictability much more than change. That’s why you sometimes find it so hard to make significant changes in your own life. The allure of your comfort zone can be strong. It’s like the gravitational pull of comfort traps you
Messing with Peoples’ Comfort Zones
When you finally decide to escape your comfort zone in favor of a more positive change, you can’t forget there are other people sharing part of that comfort zone with you. Family, friends, business associates know you one way. Now, you suddenly want to be another way.
Disrupting your comfort zone may also be disrupting theirs. Your change could possibly send your whole network of important others into a tailspin. Will they try to prevent from doing that to protect their own zone? Would they perhaps even try to sabotage your success? It’s certainly something to watch for.
And let’s not forget about peer pressure. It’s not just for kids anymore. Keeping up with the Jones’s is a powerful motivator in many lives. What if your best friends are those who enjoy extravagant and costly nights on the town and you suddenly decide that you have better places to put your money? Will it be hard to hear about the latest play, concert or club at the water cooler? It sounded like they had such a great time. What about when they urge you to come along “just this once – it’s not that expensive”? Will they tempt you to put it on a credit card that you will have to pay dearly for later?
Making changes can mean making some tough decisions. Sometimes, it even means deciding to leave some people behind. You can’t have too many friends, but sometimes you need to leave friends who get in the way of important changes. Remember you’re with these people because of shared interests. But maybe your change has also changed your interests. Maybe it’s time to find new people to share your friendship with.
Perhaps, you will be the agent of change for a whole group. Think family here. You don’t want to leave your family behind. Maybe you are the game changer for your family or your group of friends. (Leading by example rather than lecturing is the better method of being a change agent with other adults.)
Sometimes change can be tough and lonely. You often have to go it alone for a while until you make different friends or your old friends adapt to your change – if they can. You need to be brave and committed to your change during these times. Take heart. It always gets better.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself when things tough during change:
- Will I be happier if I maintain my resolve?
- What am I gaining by maintaining my decision to change?
- Will my family be better off if I hang in there?
- Wouldn’t real friends celebrate my well-being rather than discourage my growth?
They say that doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results defines insanity. Well, beyond a doubt, it defines delusion. It’s a fantasy to think that you can stay in the same spheres of influence and expect your life to be different. In so many ways you are who you hang with. When you consider changing your money lifestyle, you may also have to make some hard decisions about the company you keep.