I’ve started to see life as a battle. I developed this rather hobbesian view of life when I began to encounter issues. Not the melodramatic self-inflicted issues I thrived off in my teenage years, I’m speaking about real issues. These issues changed my outlook.I finally realised life is not easy and people rarely thrive by accident. Though some are the beneficiaries of nepotism or what the world labels as "luck" (which is often years of unseen hard work intersecting with an opportunity), most successful people have had to fight.
The fact is if you want to win in life you have to fight. ‘Fighting’ involves investing in our characters so we develop virtues like discipline, tenacity, humility etc, which in turn maximise our chance of winning. However we cannot possibly win the fight alone. We’ve got to have an army.
In theory our army should comprise of our friends and family. We can't pick our family, but we can pick our friends. The funny thing is, though we choose our friends we often do an awful job. Many of us have unwittingly surrounded ourselves with people who could cause our downfall. We don’t view our friends as an army, so we fail to regularly inspect them. Consequently in our times of need we find ourselves drawing from poor resources.
Sidebar: I’ve previously spoken about methods of ascertaining who are friends are. See –‘The Friendship Detox’
Whilst discussing the concept of ‘an army of friends' with a friend of mine, he asked a thought provoking question......
'If we could create the ideal character profiles of the friends we need in our army and those we need to cut, what would they be?’
After his question we spent the next half hour or so bouncing ideas off each other. We came up with so many ideas we concluded it was a blog post worthy topic. Here it goes.....
An Army Of Friends
The friends we need to keep.
1) The Ride or Die
They may not be very popular or particularly interesting, however they’re loyal and have a pure heart. This type of loyalty cannot be bought and should be treasured. Very few friends are ‘Ride or Die’; in fact if you find two, I’d say you’re incredibly fortunate.
2) The Truth Teller
We all need a friend who is brutally honest with us. Those bold enough to speak the truth, when others pacify us with what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear.
3) The Left Brain
You need a strategist. Someone with enough intellect to weigh up the options and offer the best rational solution to the problems we encounter.
4) The Right Brain
Life is meaningless without creatives (I’m biased). You need a creative friend who is full of ideas. Whilst your left-brain friend instructs you on how to execute your idea, your right-brain friend infuses your ideas with that extra bit of greatness.
5) The Enthusiast
We all need someone that’s always excited about we you do. They balance the left-brain friend (who tends to border on cynical) and give us the necessary push when we want to give up.
6) The Carer
Caring friends are often kind to a fault. Their nature means they place the needs of others before their own. Most become friends with carers because they’ll be there for them in their time of need. My stance is quite different. I think it’s our duty to be friends with carers so we can be the person to take care of them.
7) The Spiritual Guru
Whatever we chose to believe (or disbelieve) in, we need a friend that shares our faith/life philosophy. Such friends are there to reinforce our values and warn us when we begin to stray.
The Friends we need to cut.
(When I use the word cut I don’t mean to eradicate person from your life.I advocate creating a healthy distance)
1) The Doubter
Whenever you vocalise a dream, they offer up a litany of reasons of why it won't work. Many of us don’t realise the power of the words we speak and the words others speak into our lives. For that reason the doubter should be kept at bay.
2) The Volcano
They have a notoriously violent temper and the capacity to be extremely poisonous with their words. Thus far you’ve only seen them blow up around other people, however one day they will erupt all over you.
3) The Shadow
You cut your hair. They cut their hair. You buy a car. They buy a car. They always seem to ‘coincidentally’ do things you planned to do months before.
Sidebar: My aunt has a theory that female ‘shadow friends’ grow up to be ‘husband thieves’.
I think anyone that needs to model their personality on another person isn’t worth knowing. Give them space to find themselves (or become someone else).
4) The User
They only call you when they need something and aren’t inclined to change because everyone enables their behaviour.
5) The Liability
They're so prone to ignorant/scandalous behaviour, they're beginning to put your repuatation in jeopardy.
6) The Gossip
If she tells you her friend’s business, she’s telling her friends your business. Don’t ever believe a gossip likes you too much to spread your business. Professional gossips don’t adhere to ethical codes.
7) The Absent Kid
Remember that kid in school who was constantly absent, but always seemed to turn up when something fun was happening, like sports or mufti day? Many of us have friends who behave in a similar manner. Those that disappear from our lives when we need them most. They shift us up and down their priorities yet expect to be treated like demigod's.
8) The Backhanded Compliment Expert
‘Well done on getting your degree after so many retakes! ’
‘Who would have thought a woman like YOU could find such a good man’
‘Nice car! Finished paying it off yet?’
Despite being a ‘friend’ they persist in complimenting us in a way that exposes our flaws and makes us feel insecure. Their comments have always irked you, but you’ve been afraid to openly express your annoyance for fear of being labeled paranoid.
9) The Ruthless Opportunist
Ambition is one thing, but being ruthlessly ambitious is another. Anyone who's so driven, they’ll drive over others on their path to success, should be avoided.
There it is! Types of people I think should be cut from the army and those I think we should keep. The list is in no way exhaustive and I’m sure you can identify more types of people we could keep or cut. What types of people have I missed? Is there a type you don’t think belongs on either list? What do we do when we have a friend with overlap e.g. they’re loyal but a liability? As ever your input’s appreciated!