Why I dislike the "be selective about friends" sentiment

Jun 2023 | Reading time: 2 min

I really don’t like the “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” phrase used out of context and applied too vigorously. There is nothing inherently wrong with these ideas, but taken to the extreme, I’ve noticed some people become overly selective with who they meet/make friends with for the exact reason above (which is a terrible reason, in my opinion).

Of course, it matters who your closest friends are and who you spend time with/on, but being hyper-selective initially doesn’t make sense to me! And truly, not everything is about being productive; having friends who you just “vibe” with is great.

I think there is absolutely no reason to go about judging and auditing people based on their accomplishments and then determining whether you become acquaintances or friends solely based on that. If that’s the basis you go about befriending others, then what’s to say they don’t do the same. I certainly wouldn’t like someone to befriend me on the basis of my accomplishments, however great (or not great) they may be.

And yes, I am very much so influenced and a product of my environment, with people making up much of the influencing factors, but thinking for myself means I can attempt to filter for these influences independently, to some degree. I’ve found that I become extremely out of touch with the rest of the world when trying too hard to filter for the environments I’m in or the people I’m surrounded by. I also become boring pretty fast, and also bored by extension. And then I start making statements (or worse, conclusions) that are over-generalizations and based on the wrong heuristics. Or I start saying stupid things that are simply not true, but there is no one around me to give me a much-needed reality check (or put less eloquently, tell me to shut up because I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about). Also, the “real” world isn’t filtered most of the time either, so why should I “baby” myself in my lived experience of the world?

Finally, I also believe it also makes a lot of sense in the grand scheme of things to become friends (the type of friendship based in connection and not superficial transactions) with people ranging across a broad spectrum of interests, some of which overlap with yours and some of which have no inkling of similarity.

So really, all it should take is just one thing in common or one mutual interest, with that “thing”/interest being very unspecific. And maybe you’ll cross paths again, or maybe you won’t, but none of these arbitrary filters should apply in friendships. I stay a strong believer that you should spend a good amount of time staying in touch with friends as long as bridges weren’t burned to the ground by either of you. And most of the time, I’ve found there is no really good reason to go around burning bridges with people.

Life is too short to spend time doing anything else other than having a good time anyways :)