There's this article floating around called "Why Successful People Leave Their Loser Friends Behind" that I find incredibly repulsive. Let's ignore for the moment the most obviously distasteful things about it: the fact that it's hosted on a domain called "addicted2success.com", and that it has a photo of Richard Branson and two other dudes looking like the world's biggest toolbags. Or that it claims Hemingway was "one of the greatest American writers of all time". Seriously? Top 100. Maybe.
Those are bad, but the actual sentiment of the article is pretty terrible too:
If someone could improve his life, he spent as much time around them as possible. If someone could drag him down, he never spent more than five minutes around them. After following his “make or break” list, the man was able to become a millionaire within three years.
GUYS! Simply ditch your loser friends and YOU could be a MILLIONAIRE within THREE YEARS!! Seriously? What is this, Amway for my social life? I've known people that ditched their "loser" friends. Most of the time they were stellar examples of Dunning-Kruger -- convinced of their own superiority despite all evidence to the contrary, and blaming their failures on the perceived mediocrity of their peers. Often these people were of the "I gotta get out of this shit town" types that fled to a bigger city, because only there would their sparkling majesty be realized.
I've maintained a lot of relationships throughout my life with friends that have taken all sorts of paths in their life, very few of which have made them rich or powerful. Ditching them would not have made me rich or successful, it would have just made me an asshole -- and much poorer (in a quality-of-life sense) than I am now. Certainly there's a valid point to be considered in culling relationships that are clearly damaging to you, but doing it based on some half-assed notion that you need to hang out with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce in order to be successful is setting yourself up for disappointment. (Not in the least because they are all dead!)
Here's how you can be successful: Maintain relationships with people you enjoy the company of, regardless of their objective/material success. Put a little work in reaching out to relationships which are stagnating due to divergent paths (I am admittedly terrible about this one). Don't be a giant douche nozzle.