“Garbage in, garbage out” also applies to our relationships.
Your friends and family have a major influence on both your beliefs and your behaviour. Your conversations affect your opinions about others and feelings about yourself. They can shade the way you see the rest of the world.
This isn’t always positive. Friends can normalize unenlightened attitudes and unhealthy behaviour. Bigoted friends can narrow your perspective of others. Chauvinistic friends can foster negative attitudes towards the opposite sex.
If all your friends smoke, you are more likely to and it will be harder for you to quit.
Every week, at least one of my patients is surprised when I tell them that the healthy daily limit for alcohol is 2 standard drinks. A standard drink is 5 oz of wine (12% alcohol), 1.5 oz of spirits (40%) or 12 oz of beer (5%). Young people may be used to drinking a six-pack on a weekend not realizing that they are “binge drinkers.”
On the other hand, positive, active and health-conscious friends can lift us up and keep us company on hikes and bike rides. Open-minded friends can share different points of view and encourage us to discover new experiences.
Consider what you put into your relationships. We tend to take them for granted. How much do you contribute to the health of your communication? In your own mind and heart, how do you nurture positive thoughts and feelings about others? How do your words and actions affect others?