Got sent this quote from a reader: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” by Jim Rohn. It sounded catchy, and familiar, so I tweeted it :) And then I got to thinking… IS that really true? For me, personally?
I group my friends into different categories – all depending on the specific situation. For example:
- My “chill” friends — These are the guys & girls I can just come over and watch a show with or grab lunch or something. No pressure, no problems.
- My “party” friends — The ones I share beers with and pretty much know I’m going to have a helluva good night if I call them ;)
- My “advice” friends — Sadly, I don’t have many of these. But my wife says I don’t ever ask for advice anyways, and it’s something I need to work on? There’s probably only 1 other person (other than her) I’d tell my secrets too right now, as bad as that sounds. Not that I have many secrets anyways – I’m actually kinda boring ;)
- My “online” friends! By far the cream of the crop – and I’m not just saying that cuz you’re reading this right now, haha… I mean it. I have way more in common with you guys out there than I do my “real life” friends. Probably because I spend 12+ hours a day with y’all and 12+ hours a YEAR with them it seems like… do you think that’s a problem?
So for me to say I’m the average of 5 of my friends, I feel like I have to compare myself within each of the categories. And in that regard it’s probably true. I’m usually somewhere in the middle of the spectrum within each group. For example partying – I don’t party the MOST of my friends, but I also don’t party the least. Same goes with relaxing – I only do it an average amount I’d say. Now the instances I’m extreme are with advice and online friends ;) I don’t do secrets and personal advice hardly at all, and I’m the opposite online – I’m CONSTANTLY talking w/ y’all! So in those categories I am not the average of the group, but the extreme.
But to compare me to only my top 5 closest friends out of all categories? Nah… it feels like apples to oranges. I don’t think I fit in at all in that route ;) Although I def. think there’s some truth to the whole theory. I mean, we pick friends that are closest like us right? Or that we share some common bond with?
So what does this have to do with personal finance? Well, the “personal” part! If that “average” theory is indeed true (or even if it’s just a little true), you have to be careful who you’re hanging with. You surround yourself with shopaholics and you’re tempting yourself every time you hit that mall. Same goes with extreme savers or anyone who just doesn’t care about their financial situation – the more you spend time with them, the more opportunity you have to follow suit (whether you actually do or not).
Of course, the way to stay true to what you REALLY want out of any situation is to SET a game plan, and then DO IT. No matter where you are, or who you’re hanging out with. And let me tell you, that takes a lot of confidence. And quite frankly, balls. It’s VERY hard to be the odd man out at a fancy dinner, or a night at the clubs when asked to split a $400 bottle of liquor just so you can sit down at a table! (believe me, I’ve been “that” person before, not fun.)
But you know what? This is YOUR life, and YOUR money – no one else’s. Stay true to those goals and desires, and set the expectation early on before going on that trip to the restaurant, or out at the bars/mall/etc. It’s all about knowing yourself and not putting yourself into these situations to begin with. If you’ve got the personality that causes you to get into a lot of trouble, start putting some barriers in place! Leave your credit card at home, or set up a plan B before you even start the day/night. You’ve got a lot more options when you think ahead than right there on the spot.
Of course, another option is just changing friends to begin with ;) But we’ll leave that for another day, haha… For now, you just concentrate on being the best YOU possible and stay away from the temptation.