Quick, think of the top five people in your life you consider members of your inner circle. Come on, you should be able to rattle off their names like your favorite ice cream toppings. I can only imagine the questions swirling around in your head: do you mean best party friends, best workout friends, best colleague friends, best travel companions, best foodie friends, best church family friends or best community volunteer friends?
It’s simple, I’m asking you to reveal the names of friends that have stood by you through thick and thin, that know you better than anyone else, and that show up in an emergency before you have a chance to pick up the phone and ask. True friendship is exemplified best in the presence of tragedy. I’m guessing at this point in the article your circle of friends is narrowing down to hopefully a handful of authentic individuals.
Over the span of a lifetime, your inner circle will change and evolve into one of strength, love, respect and integrity. If you’re struggling with the names for your inner circle to meet the above criteria, it might be time for an “Inner Circle Checkup.” Remember, your inner circle is a reflection of your values and beliefs for all to see. Our “friendship criteria” changes as we grow through our teens, twenties, thirties, forties and so on. If you’re still using the same criteria as you did in high school, you’re setting the bar at a very low level.
As an example, do you find yourself vulnerable around friends in your inner circle? Do you fear being replaced in your inner circle? If the answer is yes to either of these two questions, it’s not your inner circle. You choose who’s in your inner circle. If an individual turns down an opportunity to be in your inner circle, tell them not to let the screen door hit them on the way out. If it’s a popularity decision, you’re building your circle on thin ice. There is no inner circle contest.
Take a moment and think about adjectives describing members of your inner circle, and remember what I mentioned to you earlier, the adjectives describing your friends should mirror your values and beliefs. If they don’t, it’s time for an inner circle makeover.
Originally Published in The Bay City Tribune on February 14, 2016