15 Reasons You Should Dump Your Loser Friends
Dumping people is not always easy. Sometimes they’re heavy, they tend to scream, and if you don’t do it from a great enough height, they’re going to go squealing to the authorities.
Figurative dumping of one’s friends can also be quite uncomfortable. We have people around us that we’ve convinced ourselves we’re quite fond of, and even when there are really good reasons to get rid of them, we mostly just chicken out. This, however, does not make for a successful life.
Recently, successful digital media entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk spoke about his commitment to the idea that in order to be successful, you need to mercilessly dump your “Loserest loser friends”. This isn’t the first time that top businesspeople have riffed on the idea that the people you surround yourself with directly affect your ability to achieve your goals – whether that’s in business, in music, or indeed in the fine art of casual manslaughter. But Vaynerchuk has a lot of advice that applies to choosing your cohorts carefully.
It’s a difficult and sometimes cringeworthily dickish business to undertake, so here’s a smattering of reasons that might convince you it’s worth all the sleepless nights and threats upon your person. Who knows, it might make you happier – that’s reason enough in itself to unload yourself of some of the more useless cretins you’ve been dragging around on your coattails.
15. You Are The Average Of Your Friends
The concept that sits at the heart of this concept of throwing select friends into the fire (Figuratively – Actual immolation, while fun, is frowned upon), stems from a quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn:
“You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.”
Now, most of us are pretty wary of motivational speakers, because let’s face it, most of them only succeed in getting themselves whipped up into a narcissistic frenzy, fed by a crowd who are desperate for someone to make them rich. But what Rohn said makes a certain amount of sense.
Like it or not, we’re greatly influenced by those we surround ourselves with. We are the average – in money, success, influence, ability – of those five we have chosen to be our closest companions. They are the ones who help shape our lives, and if we are to succeed in the ways we’re so desperate to, who those people are really matters.
So take a look around at those five people. Hell, take a look at the 10 closest people. Are these the ones you want to look at and say, “Yep, it’s a good thing that I am the average of these insane sonsabitches”?
If not, it’s time for the cull to begin.
14. They Won’t Survive The Audit
Auditing. All the cool kids are doing it, because cold analysis is sexy.
What we’re talking about here isn’t simply trawling over black and white data, drawing up spreadsheets, and calling in your friends for a special meeting to explain to them why they’re an oxygen thief. It’s more about looking at your aspirations, looking at who you’d really like to be the average of, and then kinda ruthlessly making replacements.
In the Business Insider podcast, “Success, how I did it”, Gary Vaynerchuk speaks about the process of dumping and replacing a loser friend, and in various other videos he has discussed his approach to this auditing process.
“Go somewhere…go to a Facebook group, join some shit, DM the 800 people who are doing what you want, and just make 1 friend”.
Making this new winner friend isn’t enough, you then need to get rid of 1 loser friend to make room for them. Then keep reaching out to strangers you admire, trying not to be too stalkery, keep making friends, keep replacing them for the loser friends you have. Because, in the end, the only way to make your average better is to replace the losers with winners. Which doesn’t sound sociopathic in the slightest.
13. They Make The Sucky Times Suck Harder
There are, believe it or not, reasons completely unrelated to your ambitions that you have friends. Well, it’s that way for most people, anyway. They can – on occasion – make your life more pleasant to struggle through. They bring light to your dark places, and unicorns with rainbows squirting out of their asses to your demons.
This is important if you’re an entrepreneur. In his series of Ask Gary Vee videos, Vanachuk says, “Entrepreneurism sucks. It’s lonely, it’s high risk…it’s like a bad boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Treat entrepreneurialism or your ambitions as though it is the loser friend you have to keep. But why the hell would you keep hold of friends who give you more of the same? That’s setting yourself up for failure. If your friends bring more loneliness and misery to the table, replace them with someone who keeps you strong.
12. Like Attracts Like
Now then, Albert Einstein – aside from having a tongue Gene Simmons would be envious of – was known for concocting ideas in his really rather substantial brain goop. One of his ideas was, consciousness is contagious.
That doesn’t really mean that you’re going to catch genius by opening your mouth whenever Elon Musk sneezes – if that were true we’d all be licking his toothbrush and rubbing ourselves on his toilet seat. It means that when you surround yourself with people of a certain mindset, the ideas and attitudes that are prevalent in that group will tend to affect your own thinking and behavior. We’re impressionable animals, even if you’re one of the dumb schmucks who thinks they’re a unique snowflake.
So look around at your friends as though the way they think and behave is likely to infect you – because it is. Are they the kind of psychological/behavioral Typhoid Mary that will be mutually beneficial when you mix your germs together? If not, you’re looking at your ambitions bleeding out of your ass.
11. You Actually Might Care Too Much About Them
People – you know, those meat suits that blunder about the place, feeling emotions and such – tend to find the idea of coldly ridding themselves of their friends quite an uncomfortable prospect. Regardless of whether the friends are losers, the reason they have hung onto them this long is because they actually give a shit about them.
This is good, healthy human thinking going on. If you care about your loser friends, that means you’re probably a relatively functional person who doesn’t have a penchant for roadside murder. The problem is, your caring nature might be too distracting.
“Lets talk about a million other things that are a way to stop success. The health and wellbeing of your family members because it takes your mind off your execution…”. In a Daily Vee video, Vaynachuk expounds upon that we use to take us away from our ambitions. In another interview he said, “I take a step back, remind myself that I could make a trillion dollars in Bitcoin, but if something bad happened to someone I care about the most, it wouldn’t matter.”
The point is, caring about your friends is fine and dandy, your ambitions shouldn’t be the be all and end all of your existence. Just make sure the ones that distract you from success are worthy of the distraction.
10. Your Friends Are The 99%
Similar thinking can be useful, a sort of drone hive mind mentality is good for, say, creating your own fascist dictatorship. As ambitions go, that’s a pretty hefty one, and kudos to you for thinking big. But same thinking is not a positive trait for you to possess, and you sure as shit don’t want your friends to be part of the collective, especially when the proletariat inevitably turns on you.
When it comes to business, you want to be in the minority, because the majority just aren’t successful. Said Vaynachuk, “If you want to be an anomaly, you gotta act like one.”
It can be really tempting to surround oneself with people who share our views and opinions, but that doesn’t make us the successful anomaly. Dump the lowest losers who just echo your opinions, surround yourself with successful people who think in the opposite way to you – politically, socially, creatively…comedically? – be the anomaly, cultivate anomalous relationships. It’s the only way out of the Matrix – which is an awesome analogy if we pretend there was only one movie.
9. Your Friends Are Toadies
This one is especially important when it comes to those of us who are perhaps less than self aware. Sure, surrounding yourself with useless Yes Men who tell you your hands are not at all tiny might give you a self esteem boost on occasion. Blind toadying might even give you the kind of blundering confidence that gets you elected president. But it’s not really sustainable, and doesn’t make for a healthy, positive kind of success. More of a fragile ego-centric shitstorm that will eventually get you…assassinated. What? Too subtle?
You see, sometimes your friends will be outright liars, in the nicest possible sense of the word. They’ll smile and nod and tell you that you’re absolutely fine heading down the disastrous path your freewheeling down like a toddler holding a chainsaw. They are useless to you.
Vaynachuk recommends that people without self awareness find a friend who does to audit them, to tell them what their true strengths and weaknesses are. Because the toadies in your friendship group will allow you to waste your time on projects that you have no business delving into, and couldn’t possibly succeed in. Dump those guys, forego the ego massage.
8. They Won’t Weather The Storm
Unless you are the kind of person who has always been lucky – and you don’t want to be, those people have no souls – it’s pretty much a guarantee that at some point things are going to get hellish for you.
As such, the characters of the people you have around you are absolutely vital in this regard. Your hard times are going to touch the people closest to you in your life, there’s very little chance that some of the feces isn’t going to ricochet off of you and hit someone you care about in the eyeball.
“Your setbacks are going to affect your loved ones,” said Vaynachuk. “It can get real nasty.” Not only do you have to develop almost inexhaustible layers of skin in order to weather the storms that will strip you to the subcutaneous fat beneath, but you need the kind of friends around you that can both handle the fallout of your struggles, and be there to help pick you up and dust you off.
If you look around you and see some loser friends who can’t handle the kind of pain, it’s better for them and you to shirk them and find the kind of masochistic geniuses who’ll hold up an umbrella in the middle of a tornado.
7. Your Friends Care About the Wrong Things
This one isn’t a case of your friends being absolute morons, although by the law of large numbers, chances are you have a few very special people in your collection. This is more a difference in the way successful people think.
Obviously, there are many faces to success, but let’s take business as the example here. Self-made millionaire entrepreneur Steve Siebold wrote a piece in Business Insider about the differences in thought process.
“The average person wants to meet a millionaire to tell their friends they met a millionaire. Millionaires, on the other hand, want to meet billionaires to learn how they think.”
This can be applied to whatever your ambitions are. You want to be a renowned artist? The world’s best plumber? Giraffe inseminator? It works the same way, and you need to surround yourself with friends who aren’t just observing the game, but playing the game – because together you’ll make each other better players. Dump the observers.
6. They Are Simply Too Pessimistic
Let’s make one thing clear first of all: this is not condoning mindless optimism. No one’s suggesting it’d be a good thing for humanity to have yet another idiot twirling around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music while their life crumbles all around them. That doesn’t tend to work out well for anyone.
However, there’s equally nothing to be gained from the brand of perpetual negativity that seems to take hold of a good proportion of the population.
In an Ask Gary Vee video, Vaynachuk says, “I think the biggest obstacle to success is a lack of optimism…there are a million reasons why not, and just one reason why.”
You see, there will always be negativity. Whether it’s a loss of capital or another rainy day. Anything that isn’t helping support your one positive aspect, your one optimistic underlying pin, is another problem that you don’t need. Sure, keep people around who will remind you of reality, but negativity for negativity’s sake needs to be dumped.
5. They’re a D#*k Now
Perhaps that title is a bit misleading, it’s not simply someone who’s a dick you need to dump. Being that way inclined can occasionally be useful – hell, it could be argued that just following the advice in this article is a road toward douchebaggery. It’s those people who dishonestly became dicks because they thought that’s how you get rich.
“A few years ago I saw a lot of my friends (in tech startups) become dicks to their staff because they had this grand vision and (Steve) Jobs did that,” said Vaynachuk in a keynote speech. “It’s okay to admire someone, but it’s so important to stick to your DNA.”
You have to surround yourself with people who are true to their own strengths, and rid yourself of that loser who became an ass-clown because he decided to take Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network as his own personal Jesus. They don’t know who they are, and they’re looking for inspiration in all the wrong places.
4. You Changed Your Mind About Them
Yeah, you’re probably a fickle pain in the hind quarters, and while this can make you kinda stressful to be around, it’s not altogether a negative thing. When it comes to dumping your loser friends, you’re allowed to change your mind.
Maybe the person you thought was a loser 6 months ago read this article and shed some of their own loser friends, and is now making themselves a success in the growing, bloody field of Human Hunting. Perhaps the person you thought was going to be the next best thing in tech is now being chased through a field by the other guy. The point is, you’ve got to be comfortable with being flexible. Embarrassing as it can be, admit to yourself when you’re wrong about someone in your life, audit your friends regularly, and don’t be afraid to change your mind.
“Your ability to adjust is the entire game,” said Vaynachuk in a keynote speech. “I change my mind every day.”
3. They Sweat the Small Stuff
There are people in this world who take care of the important fine details. Like the teenager that’s employed to make sure you can never tell that your Big Mac is made from people meats – that dude is vital. But the simple truth is, most things don’t matter.
“I don’t think one employee’s going to kill our atmosphere, I don’t think we’re going to lose an account because we didn’t put the i before e – and we they do, fuck them!” Vaynerchuk describes his approach to what really matters in his approach to business. Micromanaging the things that truly matter, but being comfortable in letting go of the 90% of unimportant nonsense.
That loser friend, that pedant who replies to your emails with a list of grammatical mistakes, is pulling your focus from the things that truly matter. They’re not worth more time than it takes to send an email with a photo of your middle finger to spellcheck.
2. They Completely Lack Empathy
This is a tough one. For the last 20 years or so, it’s been drilled into our heads over and over again that successful people exhibit all the traits of being a sociopath. It’s pretty difficult to argue with, especially if you’re foolhardy enough to stare into the cold, hard eyes of Mel Gibson, but the fact of the matter is the world is changing.
The Emotional Quotient (or, EQ – the measure of your emotional intelligence) is becoming more relevant in our super connected society. As the world gets smaller, everyone is becoming part of the same virtual village, and with that comes the village attitude – everyone knows everyone’s business, and if you don’t treat people with respect and empathy, it can be the end of your success.
“Technology is bringing us back together as small towns and for the first time being good, and caring, and following up, actually matters,” said Vaynachuk in a keynote speech.
If you have a loser friend who has all the emotional intelligence of a flea, squish it.
1. Your Loser Friend Might Be You
You’ve taken a good, long look around, audited the 10 people closest to you, undertaken really invasive probing while they’re asleep, and you’re starting to get a disquieting notion: are you the loserest loser friend?
This is, to an extent, is a good attitude to take. An important aspect of improving the people you surround yourself with is regularly taking the time to audit your damn self. Take a look in the mirror, don’t make excuses for yourself – are you exhibiting the traits of the very people you’re trying to rid yourself of? Chances are you will be showing a few – you are in fact only human, much as you might find it difficult to associate yourself with that particular species of asshole.
Awareness is key. Adapt. Sometimes the loser you have to dump is the one inside your brain, holding you back. Just don’t try and do it with back-alley surgery.
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