The people you align yourself with will determine your future, good or bad.

Right now the United States leaders are debating whether to use military force in the war-torn country of Syria. One of the most concerning issues is the fact that there are no “good guys” in this conflict. If we become “friends” with one side, and help them, we may find that the future looks even worse than it does now. Is there any good option? Possibly not.

Whether in politics or in your personal life, it’s important who your friends are. You become increasingly like the people you hang out with. Your attitudes, behaviors, and values naturally move closer to those of the people around you. It’s possible to know much about your future by looking at your friends.

Here are some things to look for in the people you choose to be close to:

  1. Honesty and integrity. Our culture as a whole does not value honesty. Having people around you who choose to live with basic integrity will help you do the same.
  2. Care about excellence. Doing a job well, however small or difficult the job may be, takes some character.
  3. Concern for the vulnerable. How you and those around you treat children, those who are physically, mentally, or economically challenged, or other vulnerable groups is important.
  4. Open to change. While no change may be comfortable, how willing are they to consider new ideas or ways of doing things?
  5. Work ethic. Those with an entitlement mentality look for ways to take: those with a responsible work ethic look for ways to be productive and useful.
  6. Emotional resiliency. Drama, depression, anxiety, and seeing the worst in every situation is optional. Some people choose to focus on the bright side.
  7. Generous. Some people approach life and others with an open hand and heart, willing to share their knowledge, material things, and more whenever possible.
  8. Willing to learn. Iron sharpens iron: being around people who continue to learn and grow stimulates you to do the same.
  9. Courageous. Life is full of challenges. Don’t you feel inspired and encouraged to do the same when you are with someone who has overcome big problems?
  10. Growing in faith. God deals with each person in a unique way, but seeing what He’s done for others lifts up your faith in what He can do for you.

Choosing to invest most of your time and energy in relationships with people who display many of these characteristics will be a strong stimulus to your own character.

Misery may love company, but it is optional! Some friends you may need to back away from. It is better to have fewer friends than to find your future disintegrating.

The bottom line: make sure most of your friends are those you want to become more like.

Your turn: What characteristics do you look for in the people you spend time with? How has your life been impacted by your friends? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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