The 10 Most Important Traits To Look For When Choosing Friends

friends around bonfire
Phil Coffman

Friends are an important part of our life, they influence us way more than we can imagine.

They’re the people we call when trying to adventure, the people we text when going through a tough time, the company we dine with, the people we receive recommendations from, so today I was wondering what are the rules that I consciously or unconsciously set for making new friends, or continuing relationships for sometimes years or decades.

I definitely don’t always follow these, I’m human and sometimes emotions or just habit gets us caught in the web of routine, but they’re at least the ones I strive to follow to equip myself with the best company I can find.

These aren’t specific traits like ‘they read books’ but more like ‘they continue their education’ I always tend to go for overlying principles.

1. Curious

They’re people who find many many things fascinating. Hobbies/subjects/activities that go way beyond the perimeters of their chosen ‘field.’ They are constantly tinkering with their life, should I try x or y, maybe I’ll do both. Traveling with purpose to places that intrigue them, adopting new cultures, and challenging themselves in new ways.

2. High Energy

My friends are full of energy, they have to be to accomplish all they want to do. They want to work out hard, meet new people, read books, travel, study their given field, write, take new classes, and do their work very well. People with low-energy never have time because they don’t move, energy is infectious, I try to be around it at all times.

3. Suspicious

They are suspicious people, especially of themselves. They never allow what their parents & teachers taught them while growing up to infect their mind with so much venom that it isn’t able to be extracted with a little questioning. They never know enough to be positive. They realize we don’t even fully understand ourselves, how could we possibly pretend to know everything else? We have the inclination we know, we think we know, but we never fully know and they understand this.

4. Spiritual

They’re spiritual, not in a religious sense, but in a self-awareness sense. Maybe they meditate, maybe they go for long walks, maybe they read books, maybe they take psychedelics. The means don’t mean anything to me (in this scenario) only the ends do. But these people are spiritual which infects me as well, understanding how easy it is to fool ourselves as Richard Feynman would say, so I need the constant reminder to check myself.

5. Disciplined

They don’t always want to get up, they don’t always feel in the best moods, and don’t always feel like getting that workout in, but they do anyway. They understand the importance of doing the little things right because they compound into real change in your daily life. As Jocko Willink would say “Discipline equals freedom” if you wake up early in the morning you have adequate time to get everything you need done, if you have discipline in your food you have the freedom of energy and health etc. My friends are disciplined people.

6. Stoic

A stoic uses his reason to guide his life, realizing what is and isn’t in his control. A stoic prepares themselves for the worst scenario, so they’re ready to face it. I love this mindset because we all see what goes on in other people’s lives’: the pain, the loss, the suffering, but somehow think it won’t happen to us, fortune, unfortunately, proves us wrong. We need strong friends to reinforce these principles to us, to show us how to live a better, more virtuous life.

7. Generous

Stingy people. Avoid them like the plague. They value a piece of paper over the heart of a friend, it should be a criminal charge. My friends & I are the opposite, money isn’t even spoken about. I may be at the bar with a friend having a drink and he will without question order me a drink & put it on his tab. He may do it the entire night, if I ask to pay him back he’ll refuse, knowing I’ll get him back the next time. Brotherhood, sisterhood, friendship. If your friends value a piece of paper over you, leave immediately. I see no bigger offense.

8. Healthy

This may come out bad, but I don’t have any friends who don’t work out. Not by choice, just by selection bias, it’s where I am, it’s who I am and we attract who we are. But it’s taught me a very important lesson, when I’m around people who don’t workout they think my lifestyle/dedication is crazy and it is to them! I never realized because in my friend group, I’m considered very moderate in my exercise program, I just eat certain foods and workout a certain way, so to the outside it’s crazy, but to my friends it’s normal. Whatever you’re trying to do, be around the people who already do it, and it creates this reality distortion field where the odd/eccentric thing becomes the ‘norm’ and you can no longer see differently. Whether it’s painting, acting, biology, etc. Be around the great people. And if you can’t be around them today, read books, read THEIR books, and develop relationships with them.

9. Non-egotistical

We all have ego’s, sometimes they grow WAY out of proportion and it’s harmful not only because you become a douchebag, but because it severely hinders your chances of success. You think you’re better than you actually are and you feel the world is just ‘suppressing you, man’ as opposed to just working on your craft, coming back with better work. Egotism is super contagious and if we allow too much of it in our lives’ we become it, there’s not many way quicker ways to failure. Kanye West, Steve Jobs, etc are/were all successful not because of their ego’s, but despite their ego’s they were because they were just so damn talented after years upon years of putting work into their crafts.

10. Inspirational

I need friends I can look up to! Friends I can hope to emulate, friends that push me to be more every single day. I know we all hate the motivational guru’s online, but I love them in my daily life if I know they’re actually doing what they’re saying day to day. It lights a fire under me, makes me ebullient, excited to attack whatever is in front of me. I want to soak in all the fuel my engine can tank, so when the shitty days inevitably rise up, they can’t overwhelm me. We all feel bad/tired/low-energy/negative sometimes, but there’s many who choose to act high-energy/excited/positive regardless and then a few hours later their body actually feels that way. If you hang around people who just allow the first response they feel to dictate their entire day, you’re going to feel low quite often.


How did I come up with these rules? I kind of just described my ideal self. That’s the goal, to surround yourself with the most perfect ideal version of yourself and suddenly your growth to that position increases exponentially as opposed to linearly year to year. Of course, no one is perfect and your friends are going to be assholes sometimes, but if they can represent these principles 80% of the time, you’ve found yourself some incredible role models to learn from and grow with. That may sound a little odd, calling friends role models, but if you want to grow faster than anyone else, improve your life exponentially, then it’s exactly what you must do. The first step is finding out what your ideal self looks like and getting it down on paper, then using it as the criteria when seeking out new people in your life.

We become the traits embodied in the people with whom we surround ourselves with. Who are you around? Choose wisely. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Matthew Elonis is the founder of Prepped Delivery & Keto Fridge.

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