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User atlas_benched on a forum I frequent (Good Looking Loser) gave a great suggestion for an article:

A tonne of guys struggle to build up a strong support network of like-minded guys who’ll have their back; it’s a topic that comes up time and time again on forums I frequent.

Having a strong support network is absolutely critical if you want a successful life. Not to mention the guys you surround yourself with will shape who you become – you’re the product of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with. If you’re surrounded by successful go-getters, you’ll naturally be motivated to kick ass and catch up to them. If you’re surrounded by fitness freaks, it’ll be damn hard for you to stay a fat, sloppy mess – they’ll naturally pull you up to their level. If you’re surrounded by rich guys, you’ll have a good idea of the financial success that’s possible, and you’ll want the same success for yourself.

Success breeds success.

Conversely, if you’re surrounded by lazy guys who sit on the couch all day, that’ll make it sooo much easier for you to sit around wasting your life too. After all, why would you feel guilty about it when all your friends are doing it to? If you’re surrounded by fat friends, there’s no incentive for you to get your act together and hit the gym. If your friends are too scared to talk to girls, that’ll make it perfectly ok for you to give in to your fears and never hit on any girls either.

Failure breeds failure.


Cut Negative People Out of Your Life

First things first, if you’ve got anybody in your life who drags you down, you need to stop spending time with them (or drop down to a more casual relationship). A good rule of thumb is:

Does this person bring more good than bad into my life? Are they a net positive benefit to my life, or a net overall negative?

Be ruthless with this; if you’ve been buddies with someone for 10 years but they bring you down, are overly negative all the time, belittle you, talk shit behind your back, sponge off you, use you, etc – it’s time to seriously reduce the amount of time you spend with them. Life’s too short to waste it on people who aren’t helping you.

Some people will be easy to cut – the ones who are very obviously a bad influence. Others might be a little more in the middle. For those people, write out a pros and cons list – what positives do they bring to your life? What negatives do they bring? If they’re overall more of a negative influence, cut them. Or at least cut down on how much time you spend with them, and how much influence you allow them to have over your life.

I’ve cut out a tonne of people who weren’t adding to my life, and now I’m surrounded byonly positive people. I literally don’t have a single negative influence in my life – which is absolutely the way it should be.


Find Positive People

Years ago I was at a point where I didn’t have a lot of mates (certainly no quality mates who really added to my life). After breaking up with my long-term girlfriend at the time, I had to create a social life basically from scratch. I did most of the things in this article, so rest assured this all works.

Over the next year or two, I built up a really solid group of friends in my city who have my back no matter what. I’ve also built up a very solid online support network, including a few Whatsapp groups, several online forums and a couple guys I do Skype calls with every month or so.

Like most things in life, you’ll find that making quality friends is a numbers game. You’ll probably have to meet quite a lot of people before you find guys that are really worth keeping around – the majority of guys will be good casual friends but not much more than that. Luckily, it gets easier once you’ve met a few awesome dudes and your standards increase. You’ll know what qualities to look for and won’t waste as much time on guys who don’t really contribute much to your life. You’ll also meet more mates through your current ones.


Meetup.com

Meetup.com is a brilliant way to make new friends, especially if you specifically search for positive people. Types of groups you should search for:

  • Sports groups – generally healthy, social people. You won’t find any lazy couch potatoes here. Hiking/camping/outdoors groups are also brilliant for meeting fit, healthy people.
  • Entrepreneur groups. They’ll all be super passionate people who are very focused on self-improvement and success. These type of people usually deal with rejection very well (starting a business = tonnes of rejection) and are overall resilient, tough people. They also tend to be a great networking resource.
  • Philosophy groups. These people are obviously great thinkers, usually very intelligent and usually into self-development/self-awareness. One of my best mates is a guy I met through a philosophy book club on Meetup – we’ve been mates for 5 years now.
  • Book clubs – similar to above, usually great thinkers.
  • Other random groups. There’s a tonne of other groups on Meetup, including cooking classes, pub crawl groups, general social groups, trivia groups, movie groups, barbecue groups, etc. The people in them will be more of a mixed bag, but it’s easy enough to find some quality mates if you go to a few of these groups.

Online Friends

You can also find great people online, and build up your own online support network. Good Looking Loser is the best forum I’ve found for getting laid, improving your fashion, hitting the gym, dealing with anxiety and starting your own business. There’s a specific subforum where you can find other guys from your country – many people there have met up in real life and become mates. You can also put your country in your signature as I have, and you’ll sometimes get people messaging you asking to meet up in real life. I’ve personally made 3 quality mates who live in my city through Good Looking Loser.

The Fastlane Forum is another great resource – it’s the best resource for financial success/starting a business/side-hustles.

Use those (and other) forums for advice, support, and networking. Ask to swap Skype/Whatsapp/social media with people and you’ll eventually make friends who are on the same path as you. If you ever see anyone in the same country/city as you, message them and offer to catch up for a beer/coffee. Most guys will take you up on the offer.

The best friend money can buy.

Having a support network adds a tonne to your life; they’ll brainstorm ideas you never would have come up with, keep you accountable, pick you up when you’re struggling, and share in your successes whenever you kick ass.


Make Friends at the Gym

The gym is a kickass place to make solid friends – everybody in there is obviously very focused on self-improvement. More importantly, if they’re in the gym then they’re people who take action instead of just sitting around talking about it. Definitely people worth having in your life.

Go up to any guys that are roughly around your strength level or roughly the same size as you, introduce yourself. Doesn’t need to be fancy, just “Hey bro, this is a bit random but I’m new here and looking to make friends. I’m [your name]. [Shake hands].” (Note: The “I’m new here” line can be used pretty much any time you want to make friends. Doesn’t really matter if you’re new to the gym/city/whatever; just use the line anyway.)

You can also ask for a spotter (especially on bench press), then get chatting with the guy. If you hit it off, ask to add him on Facebook/Instagram/etc. Congrats, you now have a new mate.


Use Your Current Friends to Make More Friends

This is an easy one – text/talk to all your current mates, and say, “Yo, I’m trying to be more social and make more friends. Got any other decent mates you can introduce me to/hangout with as a group?” Add in the caveat that you’re looking for quality friends, not just random acquaintances.

I’ve used this before to great effect, and met a tonne of cool guys through my current friends. Everybody knows a few awesome people they can introduce you to.


Girls are No Different

All of this applies to girls too. After you get through your newbie phase, you should aim to only spend time with girls who add to your life. If a girl is hot but bitchy, don’t spend your time on her – there’s plenty of hot and nice girls out there. Every second you spend with a girl who’s negative is time you could have spent with a better girl.


The Takeaway

There should be nobody in your life who’s a detriment – every person you give your time to should be adding something to your life. You’ll find life is a whole lot smoother – and much more fun – if you’re surrounded by positive influences.