Feeling Secure - part 2 - Finding Good Friends

We are social animals. We need other people to feel secure.

I was asked to write about how to feel secure. How to nurture close relations and to treat them well. Or rather, why we should nurture our close relationships and treat them well.

I have a program called Planning for Personal Success (https://humanistlearning.com/planforpersonalsuccess/) that was originally created for a group of college athletes as an orientation. The goal was to help these new student athletes learn how to better navigate social situations and make better decisions about drug use.

A big part of the program is actually about ethics in decision making. What ethics are, why they are important and why you should actively use your ethics when you make decisions.

This is especially important in your interpersonal relationships.  We are social animals We need other people to feel secure.  Social inclusion helps us feel secure and social exclusion is felt as physical pain. This probably has to do with our evolutionary past where social exclusion  - being drive away from the tribe – usually result in death.

However, it happened, it’s important to accept the reality that social relationships, good or bad, impact our mental health. If you want to maximize the good, you need good people around you who will help you feel secure in your relationships with them.

This means two things.

1) don’t hang out with people who don’t make you feel secure. I realize that it is scary to let go and seek other friends. That’s the whole – social exclusion is felt as pain and irrational fear of death thing going on. The reality is we can pick and choose our friends and you should be looking for people who will support you, not tear you down.  Big bullies don’t control the tribe anymore so even if they exclude you, you aren’t going to die even though it may feel that way. That’s because our “tribes” are now so big we have choices. Don’t let your fears hold you back. Find good people. (And if you need help on this get my book The Bully Vaccine (http://thebullyvaccine.com)

2) Good people don’t like to hang out with bad people. So, if you want good people around you, you need to be a good person yourself and that means it’s in your best interest to be honest, compassionate and responsible.

Your well being is tied to your sense of security. When it comes to friends, understand that a bunch of shallow friends won’t give you the same sense of security that close friends and family do. So look for quality, not quantity.  Don’t feel like you need to be part of the “in” group to feel secure. If someone ostracizes you – understand that you will NEVER feel secure around them and trying to curry their favor is only going to create stress for you. Look around and find the other “ostracized people” and reach out to them in friendship. You will be glad you did.

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