The people you choose to associate with have a big impact on you. Positive people boost your attitude and enthusiasm, while negative ones drag you down. Spending time with the positive people leaves you upbeat, while the negative people leave you drained.

You decide who you spend your time with. Be selective. Look for people who share your enthusiasm and attitude. Associate with those who are upbeat, pleasant, and motivated.

Far too often people socialize with those who leave them angry, depressed, drained, or unhappy. Why do this? You only have so much time in each day. You are better served connecting with people who contribute to your wellbeing.

Attitudes are contagious. Do you want to feel invigorated or depleted after spending time with others? Seek to spend time with people whose attitudes are worth catching. You want situations where each participant has something positive to contribute.

There are several warning signs that someone is likely to sap your energy. Complainers incessantly obsess about problems. They focus on problems while having no interest in solutions. They’re “experts” on what’s wrong, along with endless dire predictions.

Gossips love to spread dirt on others. They are constantly on the lookout for embarrassing and damaging details about people. Gossips also spread rumors, speculation, or stuff they make up. Anything you say to them will be spread around.

Condescending people continually strive to show how and why they are better than everyone else. Everything revolves around them. They have no interest in what’s happening to others unless they can use it to show how they are superior.

Self-absorbed people make everything about them. They hijack conversations and are not interested in what others have to say. Even when you are speaking with someone else, they will insert themselves into the conversation.

These are just a few examples of the types of people who drain your energy and enthusiasm while contaminating your attitude. The best way of avoiding the deleterious impacts of these people is through avoidance.

Have high standards for yourself and others. Prune from your social circle people you can’t count on, are energy drains, are negative or toxic, don’t reciprocate, or take without giving back. Being selective with who you associate with isn’t rude. It is protecting yourself.

Always be polite and courteous when declining an invitation to a gathering you don’t want to attend. Be sure to thank the person for being invited. Tell them you appreciate being thought of but can’t make it due to a previous commitment.

Seek out people who share your outlook on life. Spending time with them is enjoyable. You’ll contribute to their well-being also. When you leave, you’ll feel recharged. If you can’t immediately find these people, you’re better off alone than with those who will drain you.

Although everyone has an opinion as to how you should be living your life, there are only certain people you should listen to. If you are looking for advice, turn to someone who has more experience than you and is already where you want to be. Seek out people you want to emulate and then learn from them.

Even though people close to you may be well intentioned, unless they have accomplished what you want to accomplish, they can’t advise you on how to reach your goals. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a tendency for jealousy when you are making headway towards your objective. Ignore the naysayers and critics.

Surround yourself with other motivated, positive, and enthusiastic people. You want to be part of a group where everyone benefits. Listen to those who have the experience and expertise to guide you along your desired path.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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