3 Reasons Your Friends are Hindering Your Success

Your Friends Aren’t Omniscient

Advertisers have long known about the power of the bandwagon effect. They are able to persuade people to purchase their products by appealing to the crowd. This first hit home with me during my sophomore year of high school where I learned about journalism methods. We learned of the bias’s potential moral implications and its use in the media. And of course, the old adage “If your friends jump off a cliff, are you going to do it too?” was thrown around.

Devil’s Advocate

The difference between how people react to information from their peers versus a stranger can be quite concerning. If the average person has average knowledge, wouldn’t it be safe to say the people we are surrounded by are more often than not, average? Knowing that there are exceptions to the standard, who’s to say Joe is more educated on the subject than the person at the grocery store? The people you do know, don’t know more than people you don’t know.

Your Friends Make Losing Feel Okay

We connect better to people who have been in similar situations as us, especially if they are negative experiences. It’s nice to be comforted when you make a mistake, but is it helpful? Imagine you and your friends Adam and Beth invest in a stock at the same time. Adam and Beth both sell their shares a couple of weeks before you and come out with a decent profit. You see the potential for more growth, so you hold. But the stock declines and never fully recovers. You sell at a loss and instantly feel regret for not joining them.

All for One and One For All

The first problem is that at this rate, you’re never going to learn. With the first scenario, you may decide that next time you’ll do a little bit more research so you don’t repeat the same results.

Validation From Your Peers

It’s human nature to keep people around whom you agree with. You love feeling validated. Who doesn’t? To know that someone else agrees with your thought, thinks the same way as you; it’s a great feeling. Similar perspectives and experiences between two people create an instant connection which everyone is searching for. But agreeing with everything is unproductive and detrimental to success. Confirmation from your friends will not help you grow, and it can cause false information to take over sound reasoning.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Choose your friends wisely. The more diverse everyone’s experiences are, the more perspectives there can be in the group. And maybe it’s best not to have a people-pleaser around as often. Find an antagonistic or competitive companion to keep you on your toes rather than agree with everything you say. Friend’s can make you feel great, but keeping your enemy around can make you be great.

Question Everything

If you were to fact-check a stranger’s information, then you should fact-check your friends too. Most people are naturally trusting when information is coming straight from another person. Just make sure you do your research.

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