Check out Podcast 31 from Luke Dancy discussing his thoughts on surrounding yourself with the right people.
Recent studies suggest we become like the five people we spend most time with. It is therefore imperative to surround yourself with kind, positive people.
A great way to categorise your friends is to do the ‘mobile phone test’ and assess which category your friends fall into:
- SUPPORTERS – If your phone rings and as the name comes up you are happy to take the call, then this friend is likely to be a ‘supporter‘. This lovely group of friends and family cheer you on; they tell you you are wonderful and make you feel good. They listen to you intently and almost always agree with your views. They are interested in you, care about you and make you feel valued. Although they don’t spark an energy in you or new ideas, supporters are good people to know.
- IGNITERS – If your phone rings and as the name comes up you are excited to take the call, then this friend is likely to be an ‘igniter‘. These are people who make things happen, going through life taking full responsibility for everything they do. They are alive with curiosity and are open to new experiences. They are successful and creative and are continually looking at ways to make their lives better. When they find a great way of doing something they will tell you about it. When they see something they like about your life they will ask you about it. Their energy is contagious and your energy levels are boosted. Igniters are interested in you, they believe in you, they encourage you and best of all, you are interested in them. Igniters are great people, who make you feel great as they excite and motivate you. Igniters are friends who you should hang out with and hang on to!
- DRAGGERS – If your phone rings and as the name comes up your shoulders drop, you sigh and think I’ll collect some energy and call them back later; then this friend or family member is likely to be a ‘dragger‘. Time with a dragger is often negative and there are very few laughs. The aim of the dragger (although unintentional) is to make you experience their low energy levels as they endeavour to make you understand how bad it feels to be them and for you to experience the world through their eyes. They are called draggers because they literally drag you down and the longer you spend with these individuals, the more energy that will be drained from you. You are best advised to say goodbye to these people if you can. However, if it is not possible try these tips:
- There is safety in numbers so if you are spending time with a dragger bring positive friends along to dilute the negativity.
- Try putting them in your phone with a funny name and photo if possible (Grot Bags the witch, Victor Meldrew or Mr Bean) to make you smile and lift you mood.
- Dont reward negative conversation with your time and energy. Instead change the subject.
- Be prepared with a state breaker. Listen and say “Sorry to hear that, but let me tell you the funniest thing that happened to me…”
- Be nice, but distance yourself if necessary.
(Information taken from The Speakmans tour brochure).
Friends struggling with mental illness may be a mass of contradictions, but please, dont ever give up on your friends as they need you.