How often have you heard the phrase “you can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends”? or is is the other way round?

It’s a common one – I’ve thought it on occasions and it usually comes following a negative interaction, and yet there isn’t a phrase associated with negative interactions with friends.  It doesn’t always follow that if you have a positive nurturing family dynamic that you will go on to make good choices when it comes to friends.

Friends come into our lives early on through the very predictable parts of life such as which childcare setting was used, which school we went to, how the school allocated us to the class we were then in, where the teacher decides to seat us in class, which highschool we went to, which after school activities we went to, what hobbies we have, where we live, where our relatives live, where we play, where we then choose to work and socialise.

So our friends are actually picked for us and then as we grow we filter who it is we want to spend our time with. We choose and decide and filter based on our lived experience which all comes back to the family dynamic.

The filter you have is created by the family dynamic that you were born into. And it will be different from everybody elses, even your siblings if you have any. Nobody has the same lived experience. As parents we make choices for our children on a daily basis, those choices are influenced by our parents choices, which were influenced by their parents choices and so it goes back.  We are where we are with our own unique filter our own perspective on life.

But what if your filter is not helpful.  What if it isn’t filtering enough and lets in too many negative experiences, or what if it won’t filter at all and blocks you from experiencing the things you want to enjoy.  As children we did not have the freedom to be able to filter who it is was we spent our time with. As an adult you may not feel you have the freedom to be able to filter.  You may not be able to change your family dynamic but you can change your filter. 

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