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The Ripple Effect of:
Who Is In Your Inner Circle
Show Me Your Friends, I’ll Show You Your Future” by Dr. Tom Gargiula

The people who we surround ourselves with have a strong gravitational pull on our lives.  We tend to act like they act and do things the way they do things.  I have heard several people say that they started smoking because they were hanging out with people who smoked.  I also know people who have started exercising and getting healthier because the people they were spending time with also exercised and took actions to get healthier. This is especially clear when we look at our children. They will mimic our behavior both good and bad.

As I saw evidence that this was true, I became very aware of who was in my life.  If the people I hang out with have that much of an influence on my life, then I better put some serious thought into the type of people I want to be around. The more I thought about this the bigger it became. I realized that the amount of people in my life, as for most of us, was quite vast and large in number. As a matter of fact there are categories of people. Personal friends of mine, Friends who are couples, work friends, church friends, friends who are connected to our children and their activities. Wow. That’s a lot of people.

The first important question I began to ask myself was, “Who do I want to spend time with?” Then I realized that I needed to step back and get even more clear. A more clarifying question was, “What qualities are important to me to have in a friend?” I decided that this question is more important to begin with so I can attract the right people into my life. As the title of the blog implies, I want the presence of my friends to be inspiring me and uplifting me with moving forward in all categories of my life. There are different people who fit into different categories of my life. I have some friends who are in the business category, others who I would ask to go to a ball game, a different group for a bible study, possibly others to go see a concert, and still more for a couples night. It was interesting for me to see how these categories unfolded. I have some people in all of the categories and others who are in only one. One thing I realized was that as the number of people got smaller the relationships got deeper. The quality of the people and the relationships was incredible. More people were fitting into multiple categories and we enjoyed our time together on an increasing basis.

We can chose our friends, we can not chose our family. Family is a very important part of most people’s lives.  So we get to ask the question again.  “What qualities do I want my family to have?”  Now I understand we can not replace a family member for a new person, however, we can decide the kinds of attitudes, values, and qualities we want to model and cultivate them in our existing family members.  As much as we want these very special people to be totally connected to us, not everyone is going to be willing to make changes or understand why this is important to you.  All we can do is the best we can.  Just because someone is family does not mean that they are going to be in all aspects of your life, and it does not mean you are choosing them as one of your Inner Circle friends. You always keep your options open. Meaning anyone can change and you never know what circumstances come along that change people’s perspectives.

What is an Inner Circle friend?  Someone in your Inner Circle is someone who has similar values, attitudes, and basic philosophies as you.  I am not saying to create cookie cutters of you, but values and philosophies are very important in your Inner Circle.

These Inner Circle friends are there for you regardless of the circumstance.  You love how you feel when you are around them.  You are inspired, You are yourself.  Your opinion matters and counts for something.  Life is more enjoyable because these people are sharing your life with you.  These are the ones you invite to a new restaurant, on a trip, to share a new experience, simply for a cup of coffee, to talk, laugh, and even cry.  They hug you, pray for and with you and value who you are as a person.

Your Inner Circle people are very special. 

There is a Ripple Effect of your Inner Circle. That process began with the following question. “What type of friend do I need to be in order to be an uplifter for those who I consider friends?” When each one of us wants to be the best version of ourselves for the betterment of those in our Inner Circle, it becomes a Ripple Effect of Self-Inspection, Self-Improvement, and Positive Impact to others. A True Win / Win / Win. A Win for Me, A Win for Them, and A Win for All.

Enjoy the process of deciding the values and qualities of these special people. The faces may change over the years but the qualities and values will remain.