Prioritizing the People That Make You Feel Good

We’ve all had the experience of leaving a social situation with a bad taste in our mouths, drained, with the feeling that whoever we just were in that interaction, it wasn’t ourselves. I’ve had this experience multiple times in college, especially in the beginning, when I had no idea who to hang out with. I didn’t know my crowd, so I tried them all, bouncing between friend groups like it was my job. I tested the waters with different people to see how hanging out with them made me feel. I left hanging out with certain people with a lightness in my chest and a feeling that things were right, we had clicked. Other people, I left feeling drained, tongue-tied, and not like myself. It goes without saying that the aforementioned people are the friends that I still have today, and the others I’m friendly with when I see them in the library, but I don’t make an effort to spend time with them.

It was only somewhat recently that I realized that I can truly choose the people I let into my life. I’m not a prisoner to who does and doesn’t like me. I have a choice, and what I’ve learned is that being intentional about who I spend my time with is SO important. That’s why I’ve tried to implement a process of checking in with how I’m actually feeling when I’m around certain people. Do I feel drained? Am I being myself? Do I like how they’re treating me, and the people around us? Through this process, I’ve learned that I don’t have to settle when it comes to my friends. This isn’t to say that sometimes my mood is completely independent of who I’m hanging out with because that’s true sometimes as well, but the people around me can be an influence without me even realizing.

 

This is why the process of “curating” my friends, prioritizing the people who I feel like I can be myself around and make me feel happy and at ease, has been crucial for me. I try to remind myself of this when I catch myself continuously hanging out with people who make me feel bad and don’t appreciate the friendship that I offer them. It’s not selfish to decide not to dedicate my time and energy to those people. This also isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give people a second chance. Hang out with them a few times, feel the vibe, and check in with yourself on how they make you feel and whether, most importantly, you like who you are when you’re around them. Last but not least, show your appreciation for the people in your life who make you feel good, are there for you, and are just generally solid people, because they deserve it.