The Chinese virus is raging on. But there is another pandemic that no one is talking about. It's the pandemic of stupid friends. They're all around you. Except, the cure for this is well-known.

Hear this, your friends suck

Considering you are an average person in an average college in India, most of your friends suck shit. No doubt about that. I know no one is telling you this. Mostly because it is a conventionally "bad" thing to say. But I am here to tell you the hard things. So hear this again: your friends suck.

Why are you friends with a certain someone? Because they happened to be in your class in college, or maybe because they go to the same tuition, or school. I believe most 20 year olds make friends this way, by virtue of common place of education.

But that is no parameter to make a friend. Sure, maybe you share some common traits because you study the same course at the same college, but that's it. Nothing more than that. You are then peer-pressured into self-formed groups that think and act in the same ways, that have no conflict.

In fact, some of these groups exist for the sole reason that the people in them help each other justify their inadequacies and wrongdoings. Think about this deeply. You will see many of these around you.

99% of people whom you call your friends are not your friends. Really, think about it. Your friendships are fragile and will break after slight turbulence. This is especially applicable in your teens and early 20s.

How many of your friends challenge you? How many of your friends are not afraid of disappointing you for the larger purpose of making you a better person? How many of your friends focus on becoming better versions of themselves in the first place?

I bet this number is equal to 1 or 0 for most people.

Dark Netflix and Chill from home
Photo by Thibault Penin / Unsplash

Friends' circles breed complacency

Most friends circles are together because they like doing stupid things together. Like going to the same movies, and watching the same TV shows. It's really nothing deeper than this.

It's also about staying complacent. Say you want to get better, how do you do that when you are surrounded with a bunch of losers all day? How do you hit the gym at 6 am when ALL your friends are active on WhatsApp at 2 am? How do you wake up at dawn for yoga stretching when all your friends are discussing a Netflix series till 3 am?

So what do you do? You also watch Netflix. You also start staying up with your phone screen. You become complacent, because no one around you is better.

Worst, if you start taking control of your life, some of these friends might even "tease" you. This teasing is nothing more than them feeling insecure that you might become better. So they drag you down with this subtle form of mental manipulation.

Tough part is, most people don't realise that they are stuck in one of these complacent groups. So they waste their life away. People waste the most important period of their life to doing dumb shit- college.

"Stuck" by Mario Azzi / Unsplash

College is a time where you can fuck up big time and nobody would care 1 year later. You can try your hand at different things every semester with just 2-3 hours daily. But most people waste this massive opportunity because they're too busy keeping up with the latest episode of Brooklyn 99 or some shit.

That's why the title of this post: Your friends explain you. If you are stupid, it's because your friends are too. If you are clueless about your career, it's because your friends are too. If you are fat, it's because your friends are too.

Realise this. Then you will be ready to change.

Change your friends to change your life

I have historically had very less friends. I remember, I was selective back in school. I somehow implicitly knew the "you are the average of the 5 people around you" maxim.

It went to an extent that people called me anti-social. What they failed to realise that I was only selectively social. I just didn't want to socialize and make small talk with some bimbo who knows nothing about anything and obsesses over Cinderella or Harry Potter.

A general rule to follow is to not have more than 5 people whom you call your friends. Other than these 5, everyone else is an acquaintance whom you spend little or no time with.

When you are young, your time is your most precious resource. Failing to allocate this time wisely will make you into an incompetent 30-year old. And nobody likes an incompetent 30-year old.

This 5 people rule isn't hard-and-fast. It can be 7, or 10, or 1. It's upto you to decide. It is good if you keep this number as low as possible. For me, at times, it has been 0. Completely normal and happy state to be in. Learn to be alone and enjoy solitude.

No company is better than a company of loser friends who amount to nothing.

If you don't like being alone, you don't like your current self, which means it's time to step it up a notch and become better.

"If a man does not talk to himself, it is because he is not worth talking to." _G. K. Chesterton

Get virtual friends

No, this isn't some dystopian future where people have virtual relationships. Of course, you should socialize. But you can have virtual people whom you surround yourself with.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Everybody tells you: "Surround yourself with good people" but nobody tells you how to do it. You can't surround yourself with good people if you yourself are not good. You can't have rich, intelligent businessmen as your friends if you aren't either rich or intelligent yourself.

So how do you "surround yourself with good people"?

Use the internet to your rescue. Pick a person whom you admire. Let's say Gary Vaynerchuk. Follow him everywhere, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Radio, Email, Podcast. Repeat for all good people whom you look up to and want to be like in the future.

It is also important to unfollow a bunch of dumb people and pages. For every one good person you follow, unfollow 5 other stupid people. Most people follow a whole bunch of horseshit "sarcasm" pages on Instagram, it's dumb. Grow up, you're not 14 anymore.

Rig your social media in your favor.

Surround yourself virtually with good people. Eventually you will start thinking and behaving in a way that is better than your current self. That way, you can level up your social circle in real life as well.

I have personally tried and tested this method. It works. Highly underutilized.

That's it. I gave you a cure to the disease you suffer from. Give up on your friends. Cut ties and become better. This is the only cure. I know it seems hard, but do it and see the results yourself.

Do send this to someone who might be stuck in a complacent group of friends. Read this over and over again if you find it hard to do. All good things are hard.

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