In a year happiness study, Harvard psychologists found that your happiness is very much impacted by the happiness levels of the people in your social network. Sometimes the impact others have on us is simply the result of conscious choice. We conform to the people around us because we choose to do so.
According to psychologists Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard , people are driven to conform for two main reasons: to be liked and to be right. It feels good to be accepted by others and is easier to go along with the crowd than against it. Our willingness to conform was demonstrated in a famous study by psychologist Solomn Asch. In the study groups of participants were shown three lines of different lengths. A fourth line was then shown and participants were asked which of the prior three lines this fourth line matched in length.
Everyone else was a confederate — actors planted by Asch.
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These confederates would state their answer before the participant, and would all agree on the wrong set of lines being a match. How did people react in this situation? When they were surrounded by confederates who purposely guessed wrong, they were more likely to follow the crowd and guess wrong, too. As you can see, we can hardly overstate how important it is to choose your friends wisely. But what about character traits? Could you develop more self-control by surrounding yourself with people who had that trait?
Research suggests that you can. A study on self-control published last year in the journal Psychological Science found that when someone lacks self-control they begin to value that trait more highly in other people. Not only that, when people felt as though they had low self-control and their partner had strong self-control, they reported feeling a stronger sense of dependence on their partner.
Want to develop better habits? Then surround yourself with people who already have those habits. The effect this can have is so strong that you can even pick up on the habits of others even when you are not actively trying to do so.
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Take, for example, a study done by Marquette University on the effects of weight gain among female college freshman. If a woman was on a diet and had a regular exercise regimen, then her randomly-assigned roommate would put on less weight half a pound. If she had not been dieting and exercising, her roommate tended to gain 2. If you hang out with trash, you will be perceived as trash.
You really are only as good as the company you keep.
As you go through life, you begin to realize how important having true friends really is. Navigating your 20s is a difficult and confusing time and one better traveled with wholesome, close friends by your side. Unfortunately as we go through this time, we realize the people we once counted on are no longer the people we once thought they were.
The type of people you surround yourself with speaks of your values and what you stand for.
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We have all heard of the concept of being guilty by association, the act of people associating your behaviors and thoughts with the people you hang out with. If one of your friends acts in a negative way, you will be lumped in with him or her. Despite if this is true or not, it is all based on perception.
Regardless if you believe yourself to be an altruistic person, a time may come when your bad company starts to influence your good behavior. People perceive you based on the actions the people closest to you display. Ted and I have had and continue to have friendships with other couples that we value deeply.
The Type Of Friend You Keep Forever? That Is Your Person
As a couple, we consider them close friends. Or vice versa with Ted and the other wife. We still exercise discretion and have boundaries in place to not only protect our marriage, but theirs as well. So the next time you step back to examine your close friendships, I encourage you to ask yourself the three … no, four questions I posed at the beginning of this post … including whether those bosom buddies of yours share the same set of chromosomes as you.
Just a word of caution: people normally either love or hate what Ted has to say. I love what he has to say. For more practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in your marriage, check out my book, Team Us: Marriage Together. As a regular contributor at several popular blogs and websites, she unites the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage readers.
Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. Thank you for the reminder to safe guard our marriages! Workplace , Facebook , even church settings because of ministry. Awesome Post! Leticia from King Maker blog. I just bought your book yesterday, and read it as long as I could last night. I love it!! With how we met, I truly believe we were meant to be together. We just have some serious cultural differences that keep showing its ugly head as we enter into our 17th year together.
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It really is encouraging. This is one thing I can honestly say I dont agree with. My best friend besides my Husband of course is a male. I have known him for 15 years, and we just clicked.
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He has seen me at my best and my worst. He stood up with me at my wedding, my sons godfather, and he is of no threat to my marriage at all. He is like the brother I never had, and I am like the sister he never had. My husband trusts him just as much as I do.
So to say that once you are married you should no longer have close relationships with the opposite sex bothers me, cause cutting him down to a casual friend would be like cutting down a brother to cousin status. Jess-It looks as though you have included your husband in with your friendship with your best friend of many years.
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