Over the last 10 years I’ve lived in 4 countries and 6 cities. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to have these different experiences. I’ve also been lucky to meet so many great people at each of these cities. With the media focusing almost exclusively, but understandably, on bad news stories, it’s important to remember that the majority of people are decent and good hearted.

With this in mind, it always surprises me how often people remain friends with people just because they have known them for a long time rather than any personal qualities they have. Shared experiences are great and build a wonderful platform for deeper friendships. However, people change over time and the reason why you’re friends with them might not be valid anymore.

I see this especially when people were friends with someone from school so have a lot of shared stories during their development into adults. Where this goes wrong is that the qualities you value in a friendship at 30 will not be the same as those you valued at 15. At the age of 15 someone being “cool” or “good at football” is likely to weigh a lot heavier than when you’re an adult and the fact someone is a bit of a dick can be overlooked.

There are so many wonderful people in the world that it’s a shame to send your time with the not-so-wonderful ones just because you’ve known them a long time. There’s a guy like that in a group of friends I know. He’s rude to people, inappropriately competitive, dismissive of women – he’s just a bit of a dick. However, because everyone has known him for a long time, it almost just gets ignored.

Over the years I’ve let a number of friendships slide where I didn’t think they were good people. We all have so little time that I want to spend it with people I really care about and who I’m convinced deserve people to spend time with them. As a result, I have a number of truly great friends that I would drop everything in a second to help out and that I know would do the same for me. I also don’t have any friends that I hang out with just because we went to school together. Spending time with positive, life affirming people is one of the best things you could possibly do for your mental health and I’d recommend having a proper think about who you’re friends with and the reasons why.