This piece of age old advice is ascribed to King Solomon.
My take on it is this: seek out people who’s company leaves you energised, optimistic and uplifted; people who reinforce your inner guidance; people who support your journey and whom you in turn can support and encourage.
Of course it’s good to be challenged and we need friends to hold us accountable for our behaviour, the direction our life is going, the choices we make. This is different from challenging and criticising behaviour as an exercise in itself; as competition or ego struggles between individuals, or the playing out of personal frustration & jealousy.
People can mirror our shadow side, those traits we prefer not to see. Need of acceptance and fear of responsibility can lead to us give our power away, let others decide the agenda while we follow, perhaps complacent, but not actively engaging.
Inevitably something snaps. We lean too heavily on others, ask too many times “What do you think?” and they become irritable with our dependency. If this happens, ask yourself “Where was the balance of power in the relationship?” It’s very likely you have given away your power. Notice the language. You gave your power away, no one took it, so you can take it back.
Stand in your own power, choose your direction, be responsible for your own life, your own successes and failures, and you will attract company that reinforces your self belief.
As KT Tunstall says in Heal Over:
Everybody sails alone
But we can travel side by side
Even if you fail
You know that no one really minds.