Friends in your company can influence how successful you are.

How Do Friends Affect Success?

by Sarah Casimong

Whether it is in your social life or at work, your friends can influence how successful you are. By surrounding yourself with the right people, you can achieve and accomplish greater things. Friends affect success both directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously.

1. Bring out the Best

Studies show that having friends as coworkers makes you “happier, more productive and more innovative on the job,” says Carlin Flora, author of "Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are.” A study published in the “The Elementary School Journal” found that a person’s performance is better when he works with friends as opposed to working with non-friends. Friends who collaborate do a better job than non-friend collaborators when it comes to problem solving and creativity.

2. Encourage and Pressure You

Friends set a standard to which a person feels she must conform. If your friends are high achievers, you are more likely to aim higher and eventually achieve that standard over time to avoid exclusion from the group, says Flora. “In a more general psychological sense, having friends who support your career goals and see you as you'd like to be seen in the future lifts you closer to your aspirations.”

3. Provide Favors and Connect You

Friends play an important role in contributing to their friends' success by providing a connection to practical information, people or opportunities to help them succeed, notes Flora. Friends do favors such as giving friends jobs or assignments, setting them up on dates and introducing them to other friends. Friends provide opportunities and a connection to potential success that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t friends with them.

4. The Right Type of Friends

An important factor in the connection between friendship and success is the type of friends you have. “The right friends sincerely care for you, connect with the ‘real’ you in a way that makes you feel supported and accepted, and, more subjectively, they share the kinds of values, habits and goals that you aspire to,” says Flora. If your values and desires do not match your those of your friends, you will not see the same positive effect. “If you really want to be successful, the best sort of friend is one who is supportive and positive, say, 90 percent of the time, but who is not afraid to give you straight talk or tough love the other 10 percent of the time,” notes Flora.

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