We teach children to only hang out with good friends but to still be kind to everyone. But when we become adults, we either forget to be kind, or forget we need to have good people surrounding us.
You want to have good friends (and good relationships) but you have a hard time hanging out with annoying people. How do you stay kind but only surround yourself with the people you want to spend time with? While judging who you want to be around is an important part of life, it's easy to cross that line and come across as judgmental and rude.
Here's how you stay kind even if you don't want to be surrounded by certain people all of the time. Instead of separating people into friends or enemies, think of everyone as your friends ... just with time limits.
When it comes to evaluating how much time you want to spend with those you interact with, think of these friends in these four time limits:
Five-minute friends are the people who (after a brief hello), you spend just a few minutes chatting with - they are also people you find annoying or tend to really disagree with. You'll still remain "friends", but you won't need to waste negative energy complaining about how much they bother you because they're only in your life for short amounts of time. Anyone can be kind for five-minutes at a time.
2. Three-hour friends
Three-hour friends are people you are willing to get to know a little deeper. Conversations drift towards talks about families, mutual friends and how life going in general.
Your three-hour friends are there for afternoon lunch dates, movie nights and checking out that new coffee house - you have a good time, enjoy the activity but you don't have to spend all day together. Three-hour friends help bulk up your friend group; with a handful of three-hour friends, you'll always have someone to catch a movie with, but don't feel obligated to hang out with every weekend.
3. Anytime friends
These are the people you could talk to for hours and hours - they are people you appreciate and look up to. Their personalities and values match up with yours and since you spend so much time together, you end up wanting to know every detail about their life (and they want to know about yours).
These are the people who will make you a better person, and inspire you to be your best self. They will help you make good decisions and encourage you to stay away from things that will hurt you. Anytime friends are the people your mom wants you to hang around ... which isn't a bad thing because you actually want to hang out with them too.
Romantic friends are people you've been friends with and would be willing to pursue romantically - romantic relationships built on friendship first tend to last longer. Like your anytime friends, you value their friendship and they inspire you to be their best self. They are people you see yourself being with forever.
Don't be afraid to move people between the categories. Maybe your best friend broke your trust and you can't forgive them for it - it's OK to move them to be a three-hour friend to protect yourself. You don't have to destroy the friendship completely, but you'll avoid becoming bitter and judgmental if you just reevaluate how much time you'd like to spend with them now that they've broken your trust.
Taking control of your life and your friendships will help you be a happier person. Rather than choosing to judge others, just decide now to make everyone your friends ... just put a limit on how much they'll be a part of your life.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.