How To Replace Fake Friends And Surround Yourself With Positive People

“False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.”

Richard Burton, (American Actor)

“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.”

Aristotle  (Greek Philosopher)

“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Poet)


If you have a weak network, it’s because you’ve made weak decisions about who to let into your life.

(I know this because my network used to be VERY weak.)

The only way to turn your weak network into a power network is to start being very deliberate with who you let into your life.

Here’s a networking secret very few people know…

Attracting positive and successful people into your life is not the first step of building up your network.

The real first step is eliminating the wrong people from your life.

I had to learn this the hard way.

My group of friends has changed dramatically over the last several years.

Before this change occurred, I spent my time trying to impress people who were popular in school, in sports, or at work.

I’d spend countless hours and a massive amount of effort trying to fit in with these people, even though most of them were lazy, negative, and in general, bad influences.

The more I tried to become real friends with these people, the more of a “fake” friend I became to them.

They tolerated me, or kept me around to poke holes in my goals or my ideas, but that’s about it.

One day, I realized I needed to make a change and started trying to make new friends.

I started trying to find positive and like-minded people to associate with instead.

But nothing happened.

I reached out to people, went to events, and networked like crazy, but failed to make any meaningful connections.

Eventually, I figured out the problem.

The problem was I was trying to connect with new, positive people while keeping my current, negative friends.

Look – oil and water don’t mix.

You have to eliminate the wrong people from your life before the right people will come in.

There’s no shortcut around this.

You can’t create powerful connections on top of a weak network.

You have to get rid of the weak network, or the weak foundation, first.

Why Your Weak Network Is Making You Old And Sick

There are no surprises to the benefits of strong friendships and healthy connections.

You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.

You know this.

But did you know you also have the average income of the people you spend the most time with?

Valuable friendships are more important than ever.

It’s a scientific fact.

In a study out of Wayne State University, researchers found a 58% higher variance in happiness in participants, attributed to the quality of close friendships in their lives.

The number of friends was irrelevant to the quality of those friendships that included characteristics of help, intimacy, validation, reliability, loyalty, trust, and stimulating companionship.

Again, quantity did not matter.

Only quality.

A high quality network will improve your life in every way, but a low quality network will ruin your life.

The most recent sociological research on friendship networks is that a weak network is an infection to every part of your life, including your actual health.

The American Journal of Epidemiology published recent research showing accelerated cognitive decline and measurable reduced executive function, similar to an aging mind, in participants that were involved in relationships with a high level of negativity.

In other words, the fake friends and negative people in your life right now are making you sick.

Not only that – good friends who have become mediocre friends are making you sick.

The Annals of Behavioral Medicine published a meta-analysis on social connections and found the following…

Friendships that fade from glory into a state of ambivalence also show reduced resistance to stress and similar changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

The more ambivalent, unstimulating friendships you have; the more likely you are to suffer from depression.

The more likely you are to be unhappy and unsuccessful.

The only real and measurable health benefits come from good, strong, deep friendships – a power network that challenges you and that you can rely on.

how to deal with fake friends | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | network with like-minded people

3 Reasons Your Network Is Weak And How To Fix It

Remember, attracting positive and successful people into your life is not the first step of building a power network.

The real first step is eliminating the wrong people.

Identify the wrong ones and then ethically cut them out of your life.

But this isn’t something that you just do one time.

It’s something you have to consistently do throughout life.

You should always be auditing your tribe.

Your power network should have strict standards.

The more you grow, the more important it is to make sure you have an evolving network growing with you.

Most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself about the quality of your current network.

You have to acknowledge why your current network might be weak.

Only then will you be able to replace fake friends and negative people with a positive and powerful network of like-minded people.

Here are 3 reasons why your current network might be weak…

1. You have a weak network because you’re lazy.

No one forced themselves into your life.

You either sought them out and invited them in on purpose, or you just accepted anyone that floated across your path into your life.

Either way, it’s 100% your fault.

If you have a weak network of people in your life, you put them there.

And you’ve kept them there.

Because you’re lazy.

The longer you allow these weak and negative people to stick around, the more stuck you’ll feel.

Stuck, depressed, frustrated, negative, and even confused.

You’ll blame Bob for being such a downer.

You’ll complain about Patty for being such a gossip… and Steve for being unmotivated and a loser.

You’ll point the finger to distract yourself from one simple conclusion – this is ALL your fault.

You’re the one that let these people in your life and let them stay there.

Over time, complaining about them and complaining about your life will become the new normal.

Why can’t you get ahead, why can’t you find a break, and why are you always so tired?

Because of your weak network.

Because of your lack of responsibility for who you’ve allowed into your life.

Because you’re too cowardly to pull the trigger and replace your fake friends with people who challenge you positively.

Look – your entire nervous system is unconsciously impacted by the people you surround yourself with.

You’re indulging in this sabotage mission by being wrapped up in your own gossipy drama about people that are negative influences in your life.

You’re wasting energy on internal narratives about everyone in your network who is weak without realizing that it’s your weakness that’s the issue.

Complaining doesn’t change anything, it just makes you a victim and is an excuse to stay lazy.

Only you can change your circumstances and it doesn’t happen by talking about it.

You know the people that you don’t really care about anymore and you know the ones that are blatantly trying to hold you back and keep you at their level.

You’re not being a good friend to them by keeping them in your life.

You’re being a crutch.

Take responsibility for the people you’ve let into your life and start being proactive and intentional with who you let stay and who has to go.

Commit to auditing your network regularly and never being lazy about this process again.

2. You have a weak network because you have low standards.

Setting low standards has eroded your network.

Now, everyone is welcome in your life.

All they have to do is show up to get the best of you.

As a result, no one reciprocates.

You’ve made others a priority while they’ve made you an option.

You’ve mistaken quantity for quality and you’re just giving it away.

Maybe you need to be surrounded by as many people as possible to feel good about yourself.

Or, maybe you set low standards for friends in your network because you lack confidence and feel insecure around people that are more successful than you.

Or, maybe you’ve fooled yourself into thinking that other people need you more than you need them – that you’re a fixer, taking in all the wounded birds to help them with their lives while you purposefully stay distracted from your own life and your own goals.

Now, you’re too confused and twisted to admit the hard truth to yourself.

No one really needs you.

You are not that important.

The only way to replace fake friends and people who are using you as a crutch with people who will see you as an equal and who will push you to better your life is to be honest with yourself.

You’ve set the bar too low for both your network and your life.

But this stops now.

The longer you avoid or deny your weaknesses, the longer you’ll keep a weak network and a weakened state of mind and the further away you’ll get from your goals and the life you want.

Stop hiding behind a wall of friends that you know are holding you back.

Stop hiding from the truth of who is in your life.

You were not meant to be a crutch.

You were not meant to be a doormat.

There’s no medal for being the fixer and trying to keep people dependent on you, either.

Being king or queen of the garbage heap isn’t worth bragging about.

Surrounding yourself with positive people who challenge you, on the other hand, is worth bragging about.

Learn to  find your self-worth and a sense of accomplishment in chasing your personal goals with others who are chasing their personal goals.

Learn to feel a sense of pride in surrounding yourself with people who will hold you accountable and support you as you strive for greatness.

Have the guts to set the bar high for others.

Have enough courage to set the bar high for yourself.

3. You have a weak network because your ego is on speed.

You might not be a narcissist.

(Regardless of what your ex says about you.)

But you might have an over-inflated ego and sense of power that means you’ve kept a weak network around you, like adoring minions to feed you whatever you want to hear.

Perhaps you’ve reached moderate success and accumulated a fan base that makes you feel like it’s good enough.

They don’t challenge you, but you like that because challenge doesn’t inspire you, it makes you mad and defensive.

Do you want to live a life full of purpose and passion?

Do you want to leave a legacy behind you?

Or do you just want to hear the word “yes” from numbskulls who will blindly feed your delusions?

If your goal is to simply build a kingdom of lackies that are fake, go for it.

Have fun in your palace of mediocrity.

Have fun with your desert oasis version of success.

Look – if your friendships have no depth, it’s because you haven’t developed depth yourself.

It’s because your personal and professional life is stagnant, clichéd, and predictable.

The only way to break free from this stagnation is to start surrounding yourself with people who challenge you.

People who aren’t afraid to say “no” or “you’re doing it wrong.”

People who won’t give you a free pass over and over and over again.

People who will call you out on your garbage.

A power network of strong friends like this won’t take away from you, they’ll add to you.

If you’re the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

If you’re the most successful person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Quit hanging out with comfortable people.

Stop hanging out with people who are just looking for free hand-outs or ways to take advantage of you.

Instead, start hanging out with people who have similar values and who are hungry for real achievement.

The reason you have a weak network is because you’ve taken no responsibility for being strategic and valuing the importance of a strong power network. You’ve allowed insecurity, ego, or laziness to act as excuses to be a loser magnet or a doormat for anyone, forever. Convinced that you’re immune to the impacts and health risks of negative connections, you’ve avoided conflict and drama through avoidance and neutralized your own potential. A weak network will hold you back from a life of purpose and a legacy of success. The only way to build a power network is to eliminate negative people first, set a higher bar with a clean slate, and start seeking out positive, like-minded people to build a new foundation with.

To learn more about how to cut out your fake friends and build yourself a power network of positive, like-minded people, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.