Supporting Your Successful Friends When You’re Feeling Unsuccessful

One Friday night my pastor was speaking to the young adults at our church about friendships and he said something that really made us think: “we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time around.”

If you were in the room that night you could see the gears moving in each person’s brain as they evaluated their friendships.

If I’m the average of my top 5 friends, then I have an All-Star team as a group of friends.

One of my main goals when I first moved to Baltimore was to make great friendships. And boy did I win the lottery! I’ll be the first to say that my friends are probably and most likely better than yours.

If you want to see degrees, my friends have degrees on top of degrees. If you want to see talent, I have friends that can sneeze and it’ll sound like a melodious run. Not only are they intellectually advanced, but God’s blessed me with deeply spiritual friends that support and keep me accountable. Plus, they’re cool people to hang around.

Now everybody says they want successful friends. Friends who have their heads on straight and have goals.  Friends that are striving to impact their communities and maximize their gifts. The friends you take Instagram pictures with and add the #SQUAD in the caption of the picture.


But what do you do when your successful friends are more successful than you? What do you do when their success makes you look at yourself and you start asking yourself questions like “What am I doing with my life?” Let’s be honest, we all say we want gifted and successful friends, but I don’t think we enter into the relationship with the expectation that our friends very well might be more successful than us.

As January rolls into February (It feels like New Years was yesterday!) and my goal of of going to the gym consistently is still alive, I have also made a conscious decision to be a good friend to the friends in my circle. (Disclaimer: They didn’t do anything or say anything wrong to me!) I’ve decided to do this because feelings of discontent started to grow in my heart when I looked around at the individuals in my circle. I found myself comparing my achievements to theirs. Their goals seemed so in reach and mine seemed well out of reach. They were working on projects, singing in other states, and speaking at conferences and events. And there I was, feeling like I wasn’t doing anything with my life. As I processed my feelings of discontent, and slight jealousy, I got this idea – gifted friends are a responsibility.

Gifted friends are a responsibility.

If I was going to be surrounded by such talented and great friends I had to learn the art of being a supportive friend.

See I think I was more used to friends supporting me and my dreams. But I believe I’m in a season in my life where I have to exercise the muscle of supporting the dreams and goals of others. So here are a few things I’m doing this year to be a better supporter of my friends.

1. Support Them With Your Words

Yeah, I know. One of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling unsuccessful, less than, or down in the dumps is to encourage another person. But what I’ve discovered is that speaking encouraging words into someone else’s life actually encourages and motivates them at the same time.

If they’re one of your close friends there’s a good chance that you know what makes them tick. You know where their insecurities lie and what words cause those insecurities and doubts to flare-up. Hater friends that want to see their friends fail will take advantage of that and say things that will cause their insecurities to flare-up.

Make it your goal to do the complete opposite.

Say things that will encourage your friends to keep pushing.


Shower them with compliments and kind words when they’re feeling down or doubting themselves. Ask them how their goals are progressing as a way of keeping them accountable. Speak to them about their future and how bright you envision it to be. Brag about how awesome they are when they’re around and when they’re not around.

2. Support Them With Your Actions

If your friend is putting on a show, buy the ticket. If your homie wrote a book, buy it. If your friend is performing or speaking somewhere, be in attendance. If your friend needs help getting something off the ground, volunteer your time to help them. If your friend has a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, don’t be too good to not share it on your social media pages.

If your friend has a GoFundMe (that’s actually for a worthy cause )… invest in it.

The thing I’ve noticed about this type of support is that it’s always noticed. Some of us are subconsciously taking note of who’s supporting us and who’s not.


You’ll know this is you if when someone asks you to do something you immediately can think of the last time they helped you when you asked. The one thing I like about my friend group is that everyone gets support. So much so that we feel disrespected when we’re not told about someone’s event or project and not given the opportunity to support. So support your friends with your actions and your presence. Cause one day you’ll want and desire the same thing. And you can’t expect to get what you don’t give

3. Support Them With Your Honesty

For some of us the reason we find it hard to support others dreams is because we haven’t yet fulfilled our own. But the reality is some of us aren’t ready for the amount of work it takes to reach our goals. We’re jealous of our friends for reaching their goals but we have not put in the same type of work ethic, long nights, and consistency needed to achieve those goals like our successful friend has. Many of us need to ask ourselves the tough questions:

“What are they doing to be successful that I’m not?”

“Why does {insert name} make me feel insecure?”

“What skills do I need to learn to prepare me for what success looks like?”

Asking yourself these questions may cause you to realize that the problem is not with your successful friend but really it may just be with you. It’s not them, it’s you. Break up with your jealousy and insecurity and step into the life of a supportive friend. One who speaks words of encouragement and supports with their actions.

Try the 3 steps above and let me know what changes in your perspective! If by reading this you’ve thought of some other ways to support your friends drop them in the comment section! I’d love to hear from you!


Look out every Sunday for a new blog post!

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I'm Vladimir, but don't ask me if I'm Russian. I'm an engineer working in Baltimore, Maryland, trying to figure out this whole adult thing. This blog is a collection of lessons and tips that I'm learning along the way of this thing called life!

2 thoughts on “Supporting Your Successful Friends When You’re Feeling Unsuccessful

  1. I just want to encourage you to keep writing. I was pleased to read about this topic in being a “successful friend” surrounded by many more “successful friends”. The last point really got me because I’m always trying to be challenging and not competitive. And the basis or rather hugest difference between the two is intention. I thought supporting them in honesty had more to do with them then myself, so I definitely appreciate the different approach there. Thanks brother!


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