Friends determine our success?!

Yep, the peeps you become buddies with could propel you to success or, er, mediocrity…

By Kate Leaver
Beyonce, Kelly Rowland

Every Beyoncé fan has fantasised about being her BFF. It’d be all power-chats, booty-shaking and dinner parties with Jay Z and their famous pals. And you just know she’d offer one of her gloriously toned shoulders to cry on if you needed it. But being Mrs Carter’s bestie would be hard, given she’s perfection in every way.

Just look at Kelly Rowland, who broke down recently performing her song Dirty Laundry, which is all about envy of her former bandmate: “When my sister was on stage killing it like a motherfcker/ I was enraged, feelin’ it like a motherfcker.” Ask yourself this: standing next to your most talented, brilliant friend, do you feel meek and jealous, or radiant and confident? We may not all measure our own success against reigning pop royalty, but it’s pretty standard to get insecure in the company of our shiniest acquaintances.

Whether it’s watching someone score a promotion, slip into a particularly baben outfit, or fall in love, too often our first reaction is to feel defeated, jealous or inadequate. We reckon it’s time to change that. Allow us to introduce you to…

The Shine Theory

The Shine Theory, which journalist Ann Friedman wrote about recently in New York magazine, is based on the friendship philosophy: “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” It’s all about choosing friends who lift you up, inspire you, support you and spur you on to become your shiniest self.

“Befriending women I identify as smart and powerful (sometimes actively pursuing them, as with any other crush) has been a major revelation of my adult life,” wrote Friedman. “I want them in my corner, pushing me to negotiate for more money, telling me to drop men who make me feel bad, and responding to my outfit selfies from a place of love and stylishness, not competition.”

Add to that the words of Sam Cawthorn, author of Bounce Forward: How to Transform Crisis into Success, who says of the power of proximity: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The average of five can be applied to just about everything in life – from your health and behaviour to your finances and ultimately your success.” So, if your buddies have such a powerful effect on who you are, you’d better choose carefully. Remember…

Awesomeness is infectious

Brilliant women can be intimidating, sure – but what if, instead of envying them, we befriended them? Would it make us better people? Jemma Wong and Tara Sena-Becker, both 25, say yes. They’ve been part of the same super-tight group of high-achieving, mutually supportive girlfriends for seven years. They live and breathe The Shine Theory.

“I’ve had competitive friendships in the past, but I’ve grown apart from those people, and now I’m left with this amazing group of women who are constantly encouraging,” says Tara. “If I’m going for a new job or a promotion, they’ll give me hints and advice – then help celebrate with champagne when everything goes to plan… or cry into red wine when it doesn’t.”

“I’ve naturally been drawn to determined, brave and headstrong women at all life stages; those gems who help you become a better, rounder version of yourself,” agrees Jemma. “When you catch up with your best girl, who is juggling a million jobs (oh-so graciously), or presenting at a sold-out conference, or promoted to a mega-awesome role, that feeling is electric. It makes me super-proud, and I’m so much more self-assured just by having them in my corner.”

Happy vibes

Turns out, having sweet besties is actually physically good for you. According to the Life Changing Experiences Foundation, which runs the SISTER2sister mentoring programme for disadvantaged teenage girls, having a happy, first-degree friend increases the likelihood you’re a happy camper by 15 per cent. They say, “each happy person you know increases your probability of happiness by nine per cent. Studies have shown that people who report strong social supports have more robust immune systems, lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes, and a lower risk of developing dementia.”

As for Kellz Rowland? Apparently she and Queen Bey talked it out, hugged it out, and decided they would stay buddies. You might even say… They are survivors/They’re gonna make it/They are survivors/Keep on survivin’.