by Tamika Burgess
"Spend time with people who are heading in the same direction which you want to go. Choose people who will make you want to improve, thrive; not one who will give you permission to be complacent, small-minded, and big mouthed. Choose to spend your time with people who use their words wisely, which in turn will cause you to do the same." -Unknown
The phrase, “Association brings about assimilation” is defined as the above. Assimilating to the people around us can happen without us even noticing. My association with a friend who spoke negatively about everything brought about an undesirable assimilation. Whether it was about a TV show or random people who walked passed us, said friend never had anything nice to say. I was aware of her attitude from the minute we started hanging out, but I laughed it off and never thought twice about it. After a while, I noticed my attitude started to mirror hers. She and I were hanging out so much that I didn’t realize her negativity was rubbing off on me.
I never noticed my attitude change until someone told me I acted just like her. They didn’t say it in a mean way; they were simply pointing out that we had a lot in common. However, that comparison bothered me because I was fully aware of the negative demeanor my friend had. But what I was oblivious to be that I was now acting just like her.
Shaking Up Your Circle
I then made the conscious decision to change and get rid of the negativity- as I didn’t want to be known for acting like that. It was hard to do this while still hanging out with my friend, so I took a step back from her. And in doing so I realized that because she was in a bad place, she had a bad attitude. And because we were hanging out so much, I unnoticeably took on her personality.
Taking on a negative persona can be harmful for so many reasons. Most importantly it can be the very reason you choose to look down on yourself or not pursue certain goals in your life. It’s your job to keep your circle positive. If the people around you are not helping you grow, encouraging you or speaking positively, it’s time to distance yourself. If they never have a positive outlook on a situation or words of encouragement, it’s time to take a step back from them.
The situation I went through was definitely a learning experience. I now know what having a negative person close to me can do to my attitude. Since learning this lesson, my circle of friends has been small, exclusive, important, and positive. And I plan on keeping it that way.