Surround yourself with friends who lift you higher

Do Your Friends Lift You Higher? How to Build Your Power Posse

Think about the friends you spend the most time with and how you feel directly after seeing them.

Buzzing and elated, still smiling from something funny they’ve said? Inspired to try something they’ve recommended? Grateful they’ve been a good listener and helped you gain some perspective on a problem?

Or were you the sounding board for their latest life drama? Did they draw you into gossip? Criticise you, make you feel stupid? Or maybe you didn’t get a word in edgewise (again). Did they ask you for yet another favour? (Which is rarely returned.) Or did they flake out on you completely?

Research shows that the quality of your friendships is one of the most important factors in determining your happiness and overall mental health.

With family stuff taking up so much of your time and energy, you need to invest in the friendships that nourish you and spend less time and energy on those that don’t.

Think of your positive energy friends as your Radiators. They help to lift you higher. The others are your Drains – leaving you deflated and exhausted.

Listen, friends don’t have to be positive and upbeat all the time (goodness knows I’m not!). Real friends are there for each other through the highs and the lows.

It’s more about actively spending more time with friends that lift you higher. 

Identifying your ‘growth friends’. I like to think of these as your Power Posse. The people you feel blessed to have in your life. They’re your partners in crime, your confidants – the ones you can share anything with. The friends who leave you feeling supported, energised and uplifted, maybe with some great new piece of information/idea/connection. Focus on connecting more with them because they’re vital to your mental and spiritual health. They’re the ones who’ll help you grow.

Is your Power Posse looking a bit depleted? How do you attract more ‘radiators’ into your life?

  • Look out for those who give off a positive energy

    You can see it in their face and body language. In the local playground, at the school gates, at the gym, in your yoga class  – seek those who look happy and fun.

  • Strike up a conversation

    Compliment them and ask where they got that great scarf/pair of shoes/yoga kit. Ask if they know where you could find a good orthodontist/hairdresser/babysitter. Or tell them about the great new find you just discovered. A true radiator will welcome your initiative and want to engage with you.

  • Be the friend you’d like to have

     Invest – even when you’re busy or stressed. Show up! Be passionately interested. Listen and talk in equal measure. Exchange information. Follow up.  Don’t always wait for them to call you – be proactive, stay connected.

The adage is true: You can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends. Even with limited time and energy we can take small steps to seek out the support group we need and make sure that we spend our precious time with the friends that nourish us. The truth is we can only develop deep friendships with a handful of people – so choose wisely.

Want to join my inner circle? I created Project WE to bring women with a growth-mindset together to support each other with our goals and dreams. I’d absolutely love to connect with you there and you’ll be warmly welcomed. Click here for all of the details of Project WE


In the comments below, let us know what you think. Has this made you more aware of the Radiators and Drains in your life? Share this with the great friends in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them!

photo credit: greenkozi via photopin cc

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  1. Stacey on November 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    We moved this summer and although we didn’t move far from our old neighborhood, I have found that my relationships with some people have shifted. I think it is ok to have changes and to continue to seek out a new “power posse” if the old one isn’t working. Life is all about change! I definitely am lacking in the friend category right now, but I’m working on it!

  2. Suzie Shpaizer on November 6, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    I know what you mean Stacey. There can be a natural shedding of old friends when you move area – but it’s also a great opportunity to make some new ones. I’ve also found that some friends who dropped off the radar many years ago have come back into my life and our relationships are stronger now than they were before. Good luck in navigating these changes and finding your new power posse!

  3. Lucy on November 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    I just had an old friend – of nearly 30 years and godfather to one of my children – change from a “radiator” to a “drain” in a flash. The person is question doesn’t have the happiest of home lives and out of the blue said every terrible thing about my family, my husband, etc and he felt he was doing me a favour. What do you do when a friend says such toxic things – the words never go away do they or at least you never forget them?! I think it is really true what you say those about how we can only develop deep friendships with a handful of people – but sometimes the friendships you think will last a lifetime just go sour. Celebrate the radiators and ditch your toxic friends – life is too short and precious to have the negative elements in your life.

    I am loving the blog and can’t wait to see what the Christmas special is!! (will it be something that tells me I was put on this earth for another purpose other than picking up after my children?!!!)

    • Suzie Shpaizer on November 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      I understand how hurt and upset you must feel Lucy. You mention your friend doesn’t have the happiest of home lives, so I’m wondering if could it be that he’s in a bad place right now and perhaps is jealous of you and your life? If this is the first time that he’s behaved like this could you consider talking to him (when you feel ready) and explaining how his comments made you feel about your friendship? Thirty years is a long time and whilst I agree wholeheartedly that we all need to focus on the friends that lift us higher, if his behaviour is out of character it might be worth digging a bit deeper.

      So happy you’re loving the blog – thank you for telling us 🙂

      Good luck!

  4. Kimberly on November 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Glad to see this information laid out so nicely. I was just talking to one of my patients yesterday about changing her circle to help change her mindset. Like you said, just because a friend is going through a bad time doesn’t make them a bad friend, but there are people who have consistent patterns of being a drain or a radiator. Make sure you have a good number of radiators in your circle.

    • Suzie Shpaizer on November 8, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Agreed – absolutely stick by your good friends when they’re having a bad time. It’s the consistent offenders you need to look out for!

  5. Lucy on November 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    You are both absolutely right and on a personal level I am devastated to loose such a life long friend as he hasn’t said a bad thing about me at all but everything was directed at my husband and when someone says something out of the blue that is really beyond the pale (my husband who is completely placid wants to lynch the guy if if ever sees him again), I fear that you can’t go back.

    However, I completely agree that under normal circumstances, you should dig deeper and try to help that friend……it could be a twisted cry for help.

  6. Lucy on November 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    and I clearly can’t spell “lose” correctly!!!

  7. Lorraine Stent on January 29, 2019 at 9:21 PM

    Friendships where do I start. I seem to attract the very needy, dramatic and toxic ones. I will admit I am a bit Needy myself. I have a group of friends who drain the life out of me. Dramas and gossip. Its a competition all the time. I have realised that I cant do groups of friends its bitchy and its a clique. I don’t trust them they slag each other off all the time. Its too many mind games for me. I suffer with Mental Health so I know I need to walk away but will I then be left with no one.

    Sorry I’ve gone on a bit its just friendships are hard work

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