Surrounding yourself with supportive people gives you a chance to thrive, but can the “wrong” people also help you grow?

Photo: Wonderlane

Mom always said it’s important to hang out with the right people.

Well, not my mom, of course – she’s a bit anti-social. But you know, moms in general. And I have no doubt that mine at least hoped that the people I decided to hang out with would not be hoodlums and dark-side types.

As I find myself reading a few blogs lately about surrounding yourself with the “right people,” I can’t help but wonder exactly what that means. I understand these authors are saying that the people in your life should support you, be positive lights of energy, and help in guiding or lifting you to the next level. But what exactly is the protocol here?

D. Paul Reilly tackles this subject in his recent article at the Nassau Guardian, Surround Yourself With the Best. He states:

…For someone to continue to have a happy, successful, and indeed contented life, I honestly believe, that a person needs to have friends who are literally on the same ‘Wavelength’ so to speak, as he or she is; a person who is for the most part positive, enthusiastic, and upbeat for most of the time.

Alright, I can dig it. Upbeat is good, and feeling this way propels us forward.

Havi Brooks over at The Fluent Self takes the idea a bit further. She notes in her post, Re-explaining the Right People thing, that surrounding yourself with the right people is key, but that this doesn’t mean there are “wrong” people, or that some of us are the “chosen” ones. Everyone’s got their right people, which makes everyone a right person for someone else.

We just have to figure out who our right people are:

It’s not about exclusion. It’s about discernment…When I surround myself with stuff/people/concepts that are loving and supportive, it makes it easier for me to be the kind of person who can have love and support in her life.

More sentiments I can stand behind. Yet, what I can’t help but wonder is how often our preconceived notions block out people that could be fantastic allies or even a simple growth instigator? (Like that term? I may trademark it).

What if Wrong is Right?

Photo: Wonderlane

I can honestly say one of the reasons I’m so drawn to travel is that I find myself more open to people that might be considered “wrong” for me than I would at home. Given, they may actually be the “right people,” just not obvious to the naked eye.

But if we are closed off to those who we “intuitively” sense (which is sometimes mixed up with reactions based on previous experiences in our lives) are not good for us, how will we ever know they are actually right?

I admit, I struggle with this issue. Some of my closest friendships developed from the other person seeking me out, sometimes over and over again. People I initially didn’t feel a connection with or a particular interest in getting to know better, or even those who seemed “against” me, are now definitely some of my biggest allies.

Susan J. Elliott, author of Getting Past Your Breakup, tackles the issue of situational unfairness in her post Life Is Not Fair. She comes out the other side with this nugget:

We can’t expect fairness and we can’t expect positive outcomes to all of our dilemmas. The most we can do with what we are given (whether it’s good, bad or indifferent) is to do our work and be the best person we can be surrounded by the best people we can surround ourselves with…love is an action and love makes everything else easier.

Love is an action, and feeling as much love as possible feeds us. But can love for those who may seem to be our enemy, or even lack a supportive nature, feed us too? I’m not saying everyone in our lives should be unsupportive bastards. I’m just wondering if there is wiggle room around deciding who is “right” to have in our lives, especially around the less obvious ones.

Is life more about being open to all people, and trusting the “right” people will find their way to the top, or about constantly assessing through intuition and other means who is helpful to keep in, or cut from, your life? I would really love some feedback on this, because I’m actually (for once) at a loss.

What do you think about having the “right” people in your life? Share your thoughts below.