The people in your life can be an amazing source of value to you. They provide fun, conversation, entertainment, drama, information, education. They give you highs and lows and sometimes take you on an emotional roller-coaster. Some add incredible value to your life and some don’t.
For most of us we let the good people mingle with the bad. We give equal amounts of time to each type of friends.

Is this smart? Does this really help us?

Well then let’s take a look at that shall we.

I want to offer up two ideas…

1. the emotional vampire/mood hover.
2. the 80/20 rule/Pareto principle.

OK so the first idea is this we all have friends that take more value than they give. Have a think about that idea. You see most people don’t (think about that.) When you think about all your friends do you rate them by who gives the most value and who takes the most value. Well neither did I.
You see most of us have awesome friends who we love and trust and rely on, in return they do the same for us. Real friends who make our day brighter for having them in it. That when we think about seeing them our hearts and our smiles lift.

We also have those friends who only come to us with their problems and woe. They come telling you of all their hassles and dramas most of which they cause for themselves. They never take responsibility for anything. It’s as if they go out of the way to find problems that never existed before they got involved.

They never take advice they only want to bend your ear. They want your shoulder to cry on and your sympathy. They take take take with very little in return. This is the dead wood of your life.
But hey, do you know what, there is an argument that there is a place for both types of people in your life. The argument is a little thin on the ground but hey some people like being that shoulder or that listener.

I’m not here to judge, just offer a tiny bit of advice.

Here it is…

Make a list of the top ten most important people in your life who give you joy and pleasure and really add to the quality of your life. Pick no more than ten. (yes it gets really hard when you have to exclude people you like but do it anyway. If you like, think about the people who you would like to still be in your life five years from now.) I know that it takes a bit of effort, but you will have quite a nice feeling at the end, knowing who you think are the really important people in your life.
There you have your list (and some clarity.)

Here is the second part, the 80/20 part actually we are going to change it to 90/10.
Spend 90% of your time with your top ten people and 10% with everyone else.

I know it will be hard at the start to distance yourself from the others. Just start to learn to say no to them in a nice way.

So they ask can they come over or for you to meet up. Just say “I can’t tonight I’ve already got plans, I’ll call you later in the week when I have time”. Don’t say a direct no just a deferred no.
Saying no is hard, deferring is much easier.

If they try and invite themselves to your plan again defer them.

Next start to schedule time with your top ten. Easy you like being around them anyway.

If you do this you will notice a marked improvement in your life. There is a popular notion that you become the average of the five people that you hang around with most.

If this is true then you are clearly stacking the odds in your favor.

If you want to take this to the next step then I would suggest culling your ten every six to twelve months and trying to keep improving the quality of your group that way you will have people in your group that constantly lift you and inspire you and take you to the next level.

Keep a vigilant eye on the people in your life, and make sure no one goes lame. If they do cut them out.

Say after me no more dead wood!

Until next time. Question everything.