Most of the time, I think your friends will tell you more about the state of your life than any other group of people. If you’re willing, you can look at them and get a feel for where you are in life, compared to any relational goals (if you have any goals, that is).
Off the top of my head, here are some “diagnostic questions” to ask yourself in relation to your friends:
- How many of them are there? Is my circle expanding or contracting? We all go through seasons where we are either transitioning to a new community, or simply retreating for some “alone time.” However, I think that we can sometimes identify potential themes in the size of our circle, at least as it relates to our capacity for loving others. If your circle is growing smaller, you may need to think about where your capacity for love and engagement is, and address that part of your life.
- How healthy are they? This is even more dicey. Sometimes we find ourselves in turbulence and storms, and never realize that we find ourselves in these places because this is who we cultivate. Our friends influence us — our decisions, our moods, our focus — and if we surround ourselves with negative people who seek destruction in their lives, then you can bet it will spill over into our own.
This may be a “duh-factor” for a lot of people, but I think sometimes what we need most is some way of objectively measuring the state of our lives, and the best way to do that is through the filter of others lives. If you take a look at these people who are closest to you, you may get a hint or two of where you are in life.