Ever since we were kids, we’ve been meeting new people and making friends. Over time, some of them have become more closely involved in our lives, while others have simply degraded to acquaintances. Most people associate themselves with those who either like same things as them or people they’ve known from an early age. That isn’t necessarily wrong, but chances you will go through thick and thin with these people can easily decrease.

At a glance, hanging with someone primarily because they share same tastes as you makes the most sense in the world; you like same music, same movies, same food…what could be wrong about that?

People are complex and while it’s true that your preferences will define you to a certain extent, ultimately they are  exactly that – preferences. People who share your taste in marginal things don’t necessarily have same goals and views on important things in life.

Alternatively, you may become close friends with someone because you’ve known them for a long time. Trust develops over time and, once again, it instinctively makes sense. But just because you’ve been acquainted for so long doesn’t mean that a person can be trusted. Some people will stay the same even if you’ve known them for five minutes or five years.

Previously, I discussed repercussions of spending your time with the wrong people; but how do you choose friends that will not only endure your passions, but actively support and encourage it? If you’ve adapted a growth mindset, you realize that your time is not only limited, but also your precious resource. That’s why it’s important to spend it wisely – with wise people.

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE AWESOME

Instead of focusing on irrelevant connections, you should search for people who share the same values as you. Liking same things may seem more relevant at first, but over time you want to surround yourself with people who care about same qualities, have the same mindset, and want to achieve similar goals.

As Jim Rohn famously said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Since we’re all different and want different things, it may be confusing determining what traits should a “perfect friend” have. Below is a general guideline of traits you should look for in a person, regardless of other preferences, that will help you distinguish quality people.

TRUSTWORTHY– The most important quality a good friend should have. If you can’t trust them, they’re not really your friend. You need to be able to depend on that person for help of any kind, and that person should be able to count on you for the same deeds. You should be able to speak to them about what’s on your mind, they should listen, and try to help.

Trust is something developed over time and you can’t instantly know whether or not you should trust someone. You can, however, quite easily distinguish when you shouldn’t trust someone. Those type of people will pretended to be your friends, but will leech off of you and ask for favors very soon, with no intention to reciprocate in the future.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

GO-GETTER – You will easily find people who want nothing more than to sit around, talk about trivial topics while consuming worldly opiates. They don’t have any higher goals in life and usually only find a mediocre or low-paying jobs to support their habits.

These people may be fun at parties, but you should avoid spending too much time with them. Instead, stay close to people who not only set goals, but achieve them. Those kind of people also relax and party, but most of their days are spent by improving themselves, learning, and advancing.

GOOD – A good person will treat you kindly and with respect. They will help others, even if they don’t know them, simply because they’re naturally good people – amiable, noble, and sympathetic.

Contrary to what some may think, caring is not a weakness. Just because someone is good doesn’t mean they are weak. You can be strong, independent, and tough, but if you’re not a good person on the inside, you are simply an asshole.

POSITIVE – World can either be a beautiful, colorful place or a dark and gritty one. Truth is it’s both – the way you see it depends on your perception. You can choose to look on the bright side of life or you can focus on the bad stuff.

Having people who are always negative around you is like being infected with a disease, quite literally. They will poison your perception and you will start to see everything as black as they do. Hence, you will feel more sad and depressed. A positive person will, on the contrary, cheer you up and constantly remind you of all the good things in life.

A TALE OF TWO BROTHERS

To help you realize what real friendship looks like and how you can find it, allow me to reference a relationship from my own life.

I met my best friend when we were kids. However, I didn’t think much of him as I didn’t know him that well. As I started to live my life, he was known as “that kid I met back in the day”.

Around the time I decided to shape my mindset differently, I bumped into him on a bus ride home. He immediately recognized me, but I had a hard time connecting the dots. I soon remembered who he was but still didn’t think much of him.

He was positive and enthusiastic, so we exchanged numbers to reconnect over drinks. I didn’t really want to, but he insisted and I thought I’d meet him once, out of courtesy, and then avoid contact in the future.

After a couple of weeks, we finally arranged a rendezvous. I was amazed at how different we were in our preferences – not only different, but opposite. However, he was a sincere and honest person, so I liked him.

We met up occasionally every couple of months and eventually started spending more time together. We started to talk more and realized how much we actually have in common – we didn’t like the same music, same movies, same people. We didn’t dress in the same fashion or act the same way.

We connected on another, much higher level – we were both good people who were trying to change and improve, who had high goals and were working daily to achieve them.

For the first time in my life, I could see what a real friendship feels like. If I call my friend in the middle of the night and tell him I want to talk about something, he will be there without hesitation. If he ask to borrow a larger sum of money, I will give it to him regardless of what it is for, because I trust him and know that he will pay me back. Regardless, he will apologize for asking, explain why he needs it and when he will be able to pay me back.

I can count on him for any favor at any time. If he can, he will deliver. And so will I.

You might wonder how we get along in social situations since we have opposite preferences. The answer is simple – we learn from each other. Instead of hanging with the same crowd and being repelled by differences, we expand of our horizons and learn from each other. We try different things and move in different social circles, meet new people, and adapt new opinions.

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Initially, I didn’t want to spend time with him because I didn’t know him. He wanted to spend time with me because he didn’t know me.

He helped me achieve a more positive outlook on life. I helped him become more confident and assertive. Reason we get along so well is because we share common views where it counts; we are both good and positive go-getters who can be trusted. I want to travel the world while building an online business and inspire people. He wants to become a professional athlete to travel the world and inspire people.

My productive day differs much from his productive way. We learn different things, we train differently, we have different goals. But what matters is that:

We both learn. We both train. We both aim high.

Both of us are constantly improving ourselves and want to help other people become better. We have a mindset of growth – we don’t only crave personal success, we receive joy from helping others.We have same values – and those are type of people you should surround yourself with.

With that in mind, tell me – do you choose your friends carefully? Share your story in the comments below.