Jordan Peterson 12 rules for life – Evaluating rule 3


Make friends with people who want the best for you

Childhood friendship

Jordan Peterson in this chapter talks about his own life and growing up in a small town. When he was young kids around him that were smart at that time made friends that would smoke and drink. Now he doesn’t know whether the friends influenced the other people or the other people influenced his friends. But they all had similar issues where they might not have gotten much attention at home and they attracted each other.

When he grew older he invited one of these friends over and they came with another friend who was baked. Jordan Peterson had to ask this friend to leave. This brings us to the topic of making friends with people who add value to your life.

Adding a bad employee to a set of good employees

According to Jordan Peterson if you add a bad employee to a group of good employees in the hope the bad employee will become good it will have a vice versa impact. The impact will be the good employees will become bad. The bad employee will slack off which will make the good employees annoyed and delayed on their work. They will feel that their work isn’t appreciated and slack of themselves.

Now I am not sure what research is behind this but I think it could go both ways.

Humans and the saviour complex

According to Jordan Peterson, people have a savior complex. And they aren’t necessarily saving people for the right reasons to help someone. We become friends with people we want to save to feel good about ourselves. If we are friends with an alcoholic in comparison we can explain away our binge drinking. Saving other people makes us feel on a morally high ground and it feels good.

Now I do agree with him that helping people can be done for the wrong reasons and it can end up rescuing. When we are helping people we should be trying to empower them. Teaching them how to fish instead of giving them a fish for a day. So even without us, they can function. This removes the savior complex and gives the other person power over their lives. It is hard to go from rescuing to empowering but one thing you can do is instead of doing the work for the other person redirect questions to them and make them think. Give the person you are helping tools instead of doing everything.

We are stuck in a cycle

As per Jordan Peterson 12 rules for life – “ Sometimes, when people have a low opinion of their own worth-or perhaps, when they refuse responsibility for their lives – they choose a new acquaintance, of precisely the type who proved troublesome in the past. Such people don’t believe that they deserve any better – so they don’t go looking for it. Or, perhaps, they don’t want the trouble of better. Freud called this a “repetition compulsion” He thought of it as an unconscious drive to repeat the horrors of the past – sometimes, perhaps to formulate those horrors more precisely, sometimes to attempt more active mastery, and sometimes, perhaps because no alternative beckons. Faulty tools result faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produce the same faulty results.”

I agree in order to improve you need to learn skills that will help you.

The problem in excusing peoples behaviour

Jordan Peterson believes when you excuse people’s behaviour on circumstances you are taking away their agency. If you blame everything on circumstances you are taking away their power to fix themselves. And change can only come from within.

Now I do believe change has to come from within you and you have to want to change. But it is more complicated than not blaming the circumstances. Cutting people out that have gotten the wrong end of the deal isn’t something I am willing to do. Circumstances do impact how people behave and I have not been in that persons shoes to be able to comment on how they should have acted.

I do believe in filling your own cup first and taking care of yourself but if you can help others and have the capacity why not do it? Even if they are your friends. You don’t know what someone else is going through.

Friendship being reciprocal

Jordan Peterson also talks about loyalty and how we don’t need to feel bad when cutting off someone. I don’t know if I completely agree with this and you can see my viewpoint in is it is ok to stop being friends with your best friend.

“If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would have such a friend for yourself? You might say: out of loyalty. Well, loyalty is not identical to stupidy. Loyalty must be negotiated, fairly and honestly. Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obliged to support someone who is making the world a worse place. It’s a good thing, not a selfish thing, to choose people who are good for you. “ – Jordan Peterson 12 rules for life.

Friendship ideally is reciprocal and you should be friends with people who help you move upwards but I am not ready to cut off a friend that is going through a hard time. I believe in putting in effort and yeah if there is still nothing being added and it’s not working and there is no reason I believe in letting go. But for me, it’s more complex than finding people that are good for you. Not everyone can be good for you at all times. I believe in checking in those that are having prolonged issues because people need people.

There might be an inherent need to show I am good in my need to help people. But I would like to think I do help because I am actually good and not pretending to be good.

I do like to surround myself with people where I am benefitting and they are benefiting. But I don’t always expect a reciprocal relationship as people value different things and you can’t go in expecting to get what you give.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts on Jordan Peterson 12 rules for life.


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