finding the right people
Don’t surround yourself with “smarter” people. The trick is to surround yourself with people who are free in ways you’re not. (Ribbonfarm)
I’ve been living by this concept before I could consciously articulate it. When I think about it, all of my closest friends are free in ways I am not. More at ease socially, more carefree, more emotionally aware. They differ in what they value, what they desire, what ‘winning’ looks like. e.g. they have more confidence at approaching people than I do, or more nuanced, like they are much better at managing risk than I am. I admire this about them.
Relishing the company of people who sometimes make you feel, by comparison, uninformed, closed to new ideas, disordered, defensive, rigid, fearful, unambitious is an acquired skill. It kicks up shame. It humbles you. It dares you to grow. (unknown)
From the Ribbonfarm post:
We can finally define what it means for someone to be differently free from you. They are people who are playing just a slightly different game than you are. That difference makes them a reliable sources of non sequiturs (unpredictability) in your life.
Being surrounded by the right people is a tuning fork. Why? They expand our belief systems.
But finding the right people is so hard. And I struggled for a long time getting stuck in echo chambers, having big groups of friends but felt seen by very few.
Finding the right people is the challenge of a lifetime.
Your closest friends should make you feel free, but also safe. Safe like — you can say what’s on your mind. You can set a boundary. You can take this risk. You can change. I will still love you on the other end. That’s a good litmus test. Do they make you feel free and safe?
To find the right people: start small. Find one right person first.
It can be in person, it can be online. Some places are harder than others. But there’s always at least one person who can exemplify freedom for you. There will be at least one person who sees you. You do have to look for them. Engage with content you enjoy, things that resonate. Reach out to people you find interesting. The worst thing that can happen is nothing changes. That’s a pretty asymmetrical bet.
Even one person can change you: one person who shows you how to be loved, how to be self-assured, how to take risk.
I mean, I’ve been changed a lot by singular people. Became calmer, less neurotic, more detail oriented. By watching. How they booked train tickets, how they took notes, how they read different genres than I did, how they paid attention. Plainly, I was inspired by them. They made life richer, sweeter, more legible.
Lately I’ve been seeing good qualities in people as inherently beautiful. Not like, eyelashes and nails and hair kind of beautiful — but inner radiance, inner goodness. Recognizing this beauty has made life far more vibrant, vivid.
There’s a wonderful line I saw somewhere: Realizing someone is beautiful in a way no one you've ever met is beautiful and because of that they've expanded your understanding of beauty forever. Beauty in the most distilled sense has the power to crack open belief systems. It shows us something fundamental, profound, elegant. For the rest of our lives we’ll search for that simplicity everywhere.
I know it’s hard to find the right people — but after you find a good person once you’ll know it’s possible. Like love. If you’ve never felt it, you’ll think it’s impossible. When you do, you’ll realize: it is hard to find, but it is everywhere. You just have to look.
Thank you for reading, please tell me what you think on substack chat, the comments, or twitter :)
Quote of the Day:
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
The Diary of Anaïs Nin