One of the main reasons most people don’t achieve their ultimate goals and dreams in life is because they are emotionally and psychologically unprepared to handle the loneliness and isolation required to evolve to the next level of success. When friends call and beg you to go to the movies, grab a bite to eat, or hang out at their favorite club, you’ll be forced to decide whether or not spending time with them is the best use of your time, given that you have 2 exams and a research paper due within a week. Most of us will make the wrong decision many times before doing our best to achieve our goals.
I’m going to tell you a secret. When you are between stages of evolution toward your next level of success, that is when you are most likely to be isolated by your family and friends. You are psychologically in a cocoon. Listen carefully so that you understand what is happening to you. There are many habits from your old lifestyle that need to be broken before you can move on to the next level. For example, if you frequently party into the wee hours of the morning, drink too much alcohol, or have too many sexual partners, these clothes may prevent you from focusing on your academic or career goals with the degree of intensity required to be successful.
Like most people, you will initially struggle with the “old you” and the “new you” that is trying to emerge. Instead of turning down your friend’s invitations to go out, you’ll say yes and wake up the next morning thinking, “Why the hell did I go out last night?” Now, the people who are already where you want to be won’t find it attractive to become friends with you just yet. These people are serious. They are much further along in their journey to success. They are not interested in people or activities that prevent them from achieving their goals. When you become one of them psychologically, you will find the door of new friendships opening to welcome you. It’s not so much that these people are your friends, per say; it’s just that they share the same psyche of interests and experiences and will be able to relate and discuss topics of importance to each other.
Here are some points to ponder as you try to maintain friendships on the road to achieving your dreams:
1. True friendships never die, they may seem to fade during periods of significant change, but remember that this is a necessary transition stage to give you the space you need to grow. A true friendship will stand the test of time as you adjust to your new role in life. Don’t let anyone’s perception of who you should be and how you should act stop you from making the changes necessary to make your dreams come true.
2. When you reconnect with your old friends, it will never be the same again. Friendship will preserve the most important roots that will unite you, such as being able to share your most intimate secrets or play poker. The love will remain pure, but they will enjoy their time together and apart.
3. As women, we tell too much about our personal, intimate and private matters to other women. We talk about the size and shape of our partner’s penis, how often we have sex, every detail of our conversations with our lovers, and how much we hate our bodies within days of meeting. I know as a psychologist that female brains are biologically wired to share secrets and gossip, but for us to compete in business, we must learn to separate our personal lives from our professional lives. Maintaining an emotional distance with others will allow us to get along much better as acquaintances and business partners. I can’t count the times I shouldn’t have exposed my underbelly when trying to fit in or meeting a new acquaintance.
4. Loyalty, honesty, trust, and favor take time to develop in any relationship, and friendship is no exception to the rule. Don’t make the mistake of expecting too much from a friendship too soon. A shared interest in yoga, book club, or salsa dancing doesn’t mean this person should be trusted with the key to her house or with the intimate details of her new romance. When you share personal information with the wrong person, you are giving them ammunition to make it harder for you to achieve your goals.
5. Be aware of the fact that the interests that make you and your friends “friends” also have the potential to make you and your friend deadly enemies. Friends often find the same type of guy attractive, enjoy the same taste in clothes, and have similar career interests or abilities. Let’s say, for example, that you and his friend meet the same great guy at the same time, but he chooses his friend over you. They get married, have children and live happily ever after in la la land. Can you really be happy for her? If you are truly happy with your life and who you are, you could be happy for your friend; otherwise, he may experience feelings of jealousy and insecurity. If both you and your friend apply to grad school and your friend is accepted and you are rejected, this will have an impact on your friendship.
6. Sometimes friends unintentionally sabotage your success. Some people believe that if you want to lose weight and develop an exercise routine, it’s best to befriend a friend. I personally think this is a big mistake. If you start losing weight and your friend doesn’t, you may start discouraging him from exercising by suggesting other activities. If your friend isn’t doing well in school, they may use creative ways to distract you from your studies. Unfortunately, if your friend is having trouble maintaining or attracting a romantic relationship, they may do and say negative things to undermine the relationship with their partner.
7. Friends can feel awkward in friendship when they switch roles; If you go from being the ugly, dumb, or fat friend, your friend may feel uncomfortable. If your friend has always been the male attention grabber and you suddenly become the “pretty” one, believe me, this change will have an impact on the friendship. If the friendship is true, your friend will adapt and your bond will become even stronger.
8. Beware of friends who are envious or jealous of your ambition and success. I found that most people are not aware of their insecurities or motives to destroy you and ultimately the friendship. But remember that on your path to success, you will inadvertently leave people behind. As you grow and evolve, many people will become insecure about the ties that bind their relationship with you. Your friends don’t know what their role is or where they fit into your new life, and in many cases this insecurity will cause them to do and say things that will hurt you, in a twisted effort to save the friendship.
9. Don’t be afraid to let go of friends and family who cannot accept and respect the person you have now become. You will find friends from your past who will only want to talk about the good times, when you were drunk, broke, heartbroken and depressed. You’ll meet them because they’ll often say, ‘remember when…’ No matter how much it hurts, you need to cut people out of your life who refuse to see not only the old you, but the new you as well. A former best friend said to me, “Sandy, who do you think you are? You’re just a poor black girl from Detroit, with a GED, who knows what. I can’t wait for you to see that.” you are nobody special and you know your place in life.
10. Your friends, cronies, the people you date or whatever you want to call them, are the truest reflection of who you are and what you think of yourself. If you surround yourself with people who are not trustworthy, it is because you feel that you deserve their friendship. You don’t choose your family, but you sure do choose your friends. The most important thing is to take a deep and moving look at yourself. Would you like yourself as a friend? Do you tell secrets that your friends ask you not to tell? Do you flirt with your friends’ husbands or boyfriends? Deep down, are you jealous of your friend’s success or happiness? You must be a true friend to have a true friend. Know yourself. If you are not happy and sure of who you are, it will be very difficult for you to find a true friendship.
11. An honest, loyal and true friend is a person who is happy with himself, sure of himself and has extremely high self-esteem. People who live their dreams and are true to their calling are the best of friends.
12. Lastly, my brother General George always says (and I agree with him) that people always reveal their knife before stabbing you in the back. Listen and pay close attention to what your friends say and do. If he is betraying another friend, this is an indicator that he will betray you too. It is very rare that we are surprised by someone’s behavior.
13. Sometimes the universe, life, or God (whatever concept resonates with your spirit) will isolate you from other people to allow you to focus on your life purpose. What may be perceived as jealousy or disagreements are actually “spiritual events” used to remove social and emotional distractions from your life. In the deepest and purest spiritual sense, it is nobody’s fault when relationships dissolve. Your friend can no longer accompany you on your journey to success. They’re not meant to go where you go, but that doesn’t mean they were never meant to be a part of your life and who you ultimately become as a person. Always stay positive and wish them the best.