Want To Improve Your Life? Then Improve Your Friendships!


Photo by  Zachary Nelson

It’s often said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Here’s how to make sure your inner circle is on point.


Use the 3 Level Friendship Hierarchy

This is a simple way to think about your friendships. The hierarchy has 3 levels:

1. Level 3 Friendships: Friendships that help you become the truest sense of yourself. These friendships are uplifting. They’re hard to come by, but invaluable.

2. Level 2 Friendships: The most excellent form of friendship. Maybe you share these friendships with the people you hang out with, grab a drink with, or see at your high school reunion. These people may not share the exact same passions as you, but they are beautiful souls in their own ways.

3. Level 1 Friendships: Harmful friendships that don’t make you better in any way.


Actively Seek Out and Build Level 3 Friendships

Level 3 friendships help you to grow into your true self. These friendships help you figure out your life path. Your definition of a level 3 friendship will be different than mine, but one thing for certain is that level 3 friendships make you feel energized, wholesome, and connected.

This is the kind of friendship in which you feel totally comfortable being yourself and saying your true opinion. The kind of friendship in which you can truly depend on the other person.

The difficult thing about level 3 friendships is that they usually don’t just happen on their own. You don’t just meet someone one day and build a level 3 friendship. It’s hard to find people who you relate to on a deep level and who have your back no matter what.

In my experience, level 3 friendships develop more quickly when you are around like-minded people. Thus, if you don’t relate to the people in your current circle on a deep level, and you’re friends because of other reasons, it’s going to be harder to develop those deep relationships. It’s hard because the chemistry is off.

It’s like when you want to do something that sounds interesting to you but none of your friends want to do. In that case it’s often easy to stick to what the group wants to do. The issue here is if you always end up doing what your group wants to do, at the cost of doing stuff that sounds interesting to you.

If you’re looking to start branching out, I recommend checking out meetup.com – there are probably tons of groups of people out there already getting together to do the things you love! I used this website to go to some Spanish-Speaking meetups, as well as many mindfulness retreats, in Atlanta. Who knows, you just might meet some amazing people.

Lastly, once you have a level 3 friendship with someone, do EVERYTHING in your power to keep that relationship as strong as possible. After high schol I went nearly 4 years without seeing one of my best friends. We just got wrapped up in college life, and in that we both forgot how important our friendship was. When we finally got together at beach week after college, we both realized how poor of a job we’d done at continuing our friendship. FRIENDSHIPS TAKE WORK. Since then, we’ve re-vamped out friendship, speaking every week and going on at least 1 epic adventure every year.


Seek out and grow level 2 friendships

Level 2 friendships are the bread and butter of life. It’s what we live around day to day, and it’s where much of our inter-personal learning takes place. You can share a level 2 friendship with anyone - the people you grab a beer with, work with, or even just talk to at the Grocery checkout lane every week.

There are endless amounts of experiences to be shared with the people around us, and endless amounts to learn. Every single person knows something that you don’t.

You can create level two friendships wherever you go, and the best way to do that is to be yourself. When you act like yourself, it gives other people permission to do the same.

If you’re still trying to figure out who you are deep down, I recommend the practice of meditation. If you want to read more about mindfulness, check out my Mindfulness 101 post and if you want to jump right in and try a meditation check out my Wheel of Awareness Podcast Episode.


Phase Out Level 1 Friends (and wish them well)

Level 1 friendships don’t deserve much of your time. It’s nothing personal, it’s just holding you back. You don’t need to eliminate these friendships from your life altogether, but you should limit them. That’s why they’re still called friendships!

It’s imperative to phase out these types of people because energy is contagious. If you spend lots of time around people who you don’t want to be like, you’ll have a tough time becoming the person you want to be.

That said, it’s important to not view these people as “below you”. That kind of attitude is judgmental. Rather, it’s important to feel compassion for all people, especially those people who are negative and not nice. These people are often suffering the most, so they deserve compassion, not hate.


Be Patient In Your Quest to create Level 3 Friendships

Finding great friends is no easy task, and it requires great patience. In my experience, they are literally one in a million.

When I was a freshman in college, 6 months into being in a new place where I knew nobody coming in, I was having a tough time. I had a great group of new friends, but I didn’t have any friends who I felt completely comfortable around.

Then I spoke with a counselor about it, and she reminded me that great friendships don’t pop up overnight. It takes time, energy, and a lot of patience.

Wishing you peace and love on your journey to create beautiful and life-long friendships. I’ll be doing the same!


  • You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with, so it’s critical to have awesome friendships.

  • If you want to have awesome friendships, prioritize your time using the 3 - step friendship hierarchy:

  • Cultivate and maintain Level 3 friendships: uplifting, supportive, dependable friendships in which you feel totally comfortable to be yourself. Do whatever you can to cultivate and maintain these friendships. Be patient, these are 1 in a million!

  • Seek out and develop Level 2 friendships: Day to day friendships that we share with the people around us. Work buddies, study buddies, people in your community. Level 2 friendships are extremely important, and offer us endless amounts of learning and joy. Even though you might not be a perfect match with everyone, that doesn't mean you can't have a great friendship. Embrace the differences, acknowledge the importance of casual friendships, and have fun interacting with people who are different from you. There's lots to learn, and who knows - maybe some unexpected level 3 friendships will arise!

  • Phase out Level 1 friendships: Toxic relationships. Negative people. Negative influences. Friends who might not really have your back. These people are holding you back and you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to phase them out of your life.

  • Obviosuly we all want lots of level 3 friendships, but they’re extremely hard to come by. Be patient in your quest to build them. The best way to find level 3 friendships is to first find yourself, because your vibe attracts your tribe.




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