The BEST people to be around are these...

The best people to be around aren't necessarily the nicest, prettiest, or most popular.

It's those with whom you feel totally comfortable being yourself. This is how the best, most durable relationships are forged.

If you find yourself holding back from being yourself or deliberately putting up a facade so that the other person likes you more, that isn't the kind of company you want in your life. Sure, when we're first getting to know someone, we may hold back somewhat or try to act more in line with the other person's expectations; we are, after all, trying to make a good first impression on them.

Gradually, though, the walls should come down and you should feel more at ease letting your true beliefs, opinions, and mannerisms come out without fear of being judged.

Those whom we call our friends never make us think or act in ways that feel unnatural or conflict with our values and personalities. If you abstain from drinking or smoking yet are constantly being wheedled into doing those things, you're with the wrong crowd. If you're perpetually assailed for your religious or political beliefs, those individuals aren't friends, but narrow-minded, disrespectful bullies who you're better off kicking to the curb.

There's a reason why I call my best friend -- we'll call him John -- just that. I can let loose when I'm with him. I can have a serious conversation with him one minute and act like a little kid the next. John values my authentic self; I never have to pretend to be someone else in his presence.

It's for this reason that we distinguish friends from best friends, relatives from close relatives. We establish different comfort levels for the different people in our lives, and we adjust them accordingly over time. Julie may come to mind when you need advice for a pressing problem in your life, but Susan may be the fitness-minded one you call to accompany you to yoga class. Indeed, people serve different purposes in our lives.

People should be accepting of who you are. If they pressure you into changing anything about yourself -- your style of dress, your hobbies, your job -- when you've already made it clear you're happy with it, kiss that relationship goodbye. Life is hard enough as it is -- you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

For more posts, click here:  How to Understand People

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