Finding your friends can be difficult especially if you don't know what friends are to begin with or you are a terrible judge of character. That's why it's important to distinguish the difference between family, friends and acquaintances and to learn pick the best supporting team possible. 

Family isn't necessary forever.

Ideally, people who are family are supposed to be your default friends. They are your parents, siblings and immediate family members like cousins or uncles. These are the people who were born into your life. Some people are very fortunate to have loving, supporting family members who help them when they are in need and know when to back off when they are asked.

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These are the family members that you keep.

Then there are family members who are controlling, pushy and seem to only want you around to further their agenda or to glean off of your success. This is a negative family member and you should usher this person out of your life immediately. Remember, as an adult, you have the privilege of choosing your family. Just because you were born into the same family as a person does not make them your friend and does not make you obligated to keep them in your life. Good film examples of bad family members are Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest or Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Sister. Try to avoid these people.

Friends can also be family

It's said that friends are the family that you choose.

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However, if you come from a negative family, it maybe hard to tell what a good friend is. A good friend is someone who accepts you for who you are and challenges you to be a better person. They overlook mistakes but hold you accountable for them as well. In return, you reciprocate the same behavior. Ideally, this is a person who you can foster a bond with and share secrets with because you trust them. Unfortunately, these people can be hard to come by. When you find this person, whether they come in the form of a best friend or spouse, keep them around. They are your bridge and you will grow and become a better person because of them because they want the best for you.

Acquaintances are just additional people

This group makes up 90% of the people that you will meet in life. Acquaintances are not friends or family, they are just people who you meet in passing.

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Sometimes they can be business associates or strangers on a train but in any case, you don't really know them. So, be gracious, but don't share any personal details with this person. You will only know them on a shallow level and they have not earned the trust warranted to tell them your secrets. Any additional details, could put you at a disadvantage and create an unwanted, unnecessary and sometimes toxic relationship.

Signs of toxic family, friends or acquaintances

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to choose the right people in your life. It's said that you will only rise as high as the five people you surround yourself with. If the five people around you are negative and manipulative, they can pull you down even if you are positive. If the five people around you are positive, then there's no telling how far you can go. Take an assessment of your life and the people in it. Are they supportive or controlling? Are they kind or manipulative? Here are a few traits of the bad apples, partially compiled with the help of a list from Bustle.com. If anyone you know exhibits this behavior, separate yourself from them immediately. They will cause you to sink faster than the Titanic.

  • Controlling/manipulating (i.e., using people or money to get you to do their will)
  • Do not respect your boundaries/privacy
  • Accusatory/Argumentative
  • Users
  • Liars
  • Cheats
  • Puts you down constantly
  • Their feelings always come first
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