The More Successful The Less Friends? True Or False?

It is pretty common to hear people believe that the more successful, the less friends people have, but why?

Do we talk about less friends than before or fewer friends in general?

In this article, I will try to explain what happens with friends when you become successful and why most people end up with fewer friends compared to when they are unsuccessful.

But what we will not discuss in this article is what success means since everybody has their own ideas about a successful life.

Before going further, I want to let you know that I lost a lot of friends in my journey, but now that it has been a while since losing them, I can better reflect on what I did and why and I can tell you that is not always a good idea not to prioritize friendships.

This is why I started this blog, yea, I got to where I wanted but I lost all my friends at the time, and I was convinced that it was a good idea; otherwise, I wouldn’t reach my goals which now I know wasn’t true, you can have both, and you need to prioritize your social life for a successful life.

Luckily, I changed the city I was living in with my wife, and now we made new friendships, and everything is great, but I will never consider myself successful without a healthy social life from now on.

friends and success

Do you lose your friends when you become successful?

Most people will lose their friends when they become successful, but that doesn’t mean it is necessary to lose them or that it is a good idea not to prioritize them.

However, many of us don’t know how to prioritize and organize our life when we start our journey to reach our goals, and losing friends might be a side effect.

When you add quotes like”you are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with” in the mix, losing friends seems like a step forward to many people. One thing most people miss when they believe in this quote is the fact that success and money are just one of the characteristics of a human being. So you don’t necessarily have to spend time with five successful people to have a happy and successful life.

Imagine spending time with five successful(career-wise) people who don’t prioritize their families or social life. 

So you have to think twice about what a friend adds to your life, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a successful career. They might be the best people to relax with, the funniest, the most emphatic friend who always listens to what you say, and so on. Judging a person’s success only by their money or career is a big mistake.

So yes,” the more successful the less friends ” is true for many people, but it is not good or healthy in most cases.

Read Also: Losing Friends During Personal Growth

Why do people lose their friends when they become successful?

I will talk here about good reasons and bad reasons, so in some cases, losing friends when you become successful might be a good thing for you, but we should not jump to conclusions too easily.

Good reasons:

-People are taking advantage of you. Yes, this is true for many people when they become successful and have more money, there will always be friends that take advantage of this and expect you to borrow their money or pay more than a fair share when you go out. I discussed this in detail in the article about talking with friends about salary/money. The conclusion was that it is a good thing if you realize that, at least, you can stop hanging out with those friends.

-They envy you. Some friends will envy you when you become successful, so this is a clear sign that you should stop hanging out with those friends. If their envy motivates them, it is not bad, but if they start dragging you down or bullying you for your success, that’s pretty bad.

-They are ruining your mood all the time. When you start having success, you realize that life is not that bad, so you don’t always want to complain and be negative about everything in your life. So, you might not want to listen to your friends that always complain and do nothing.

You can indeed change this behavior without being successful, but many times being successful and complaining less overlap, not always since I know enough people that have successful careers and complain more than people that don’t. But if this is your case and that’s a reason you leave friends behind, it might not be a bad idea. You should try to let them know that this is something that bothers you if you really care about them but have realistic expectations about the outcome. They will not change most of the time.

Bad reasons:

Less time. This might be shocking, but having less time for friends is not due to pursuing success in life but rather bad time management. We can all agree that you can work 15 hours a day at a regular job or a side hustle without having any success. So, assuming that a successful person has to work more than the one that doesn’t have success is wrong.

We know people that are successful because they are obsessed with their work, but they end up being successful career-wise, not in all aspects of life, and at the same time, there are people obsessed with their work that are not really successful.

So don’t blame time for losing friends when you become successful. With good time management, you can always make time for hanging out with friends. If your friends are needy and they want to hang out with you way too much and too often, that is another problem that you might have with or without a successful life.

You are obsessed with your career. This one can be related to time, but not only, you might also push your friends away because you talk too much about your career, and you end up being annoying to them. At the same time, I know people that think their friends don’t encourage them in their careers without realizing that they are annoying and their friends are not their cheerleaders.

I’m not saying that you should not talk about your career with your friends, you totally should, but there is a limit where you might expect more than is realistically possible from your friends. They are your friends, not your career coach(if there is such a thing) or psychologist.

You judge your friends for their careers. I’ve done that for a long time without realizing that having a good career and money doesn’t make them good friends or vice-versa. I’ve thought that having a good career means that you are disciplined, better educated and so on, which means you are better with people and a better friend. But the reality is not as simple, some successful people are bad annoying, arrogant, selfish, and so on. And some unsuccessful people(career-wise) are emphatic, kind, and helpful, which makes them great friends. Don’t judge your friends by their careers.

Another big reason why we lose our friends when we become successful is that most people start their journey in their 20s or 30s, when we usually lose friends anyway, due to focusing too much on other things like careers, relationships, and kids. So it is not due to the success but rather to the timing in those cases.

What can you do not to lose friends when you become successful?

The best thing you can do is not to lose friends in your journey to a successful career it is to prioritize social life and friends because they are part of a successful life.

You have to understand that not all your friends should add to your career success. Some might be great to relax with and take a breath from the hustle, and yes, breaks are also good and productive if we think about it.

Also, don’t judge your friends because they don’t believe in your dreams. We usually hear many over-optimistic friends who always talk about their dreams but do nothing, so it’s natural not to get excited when we hear someone talking about their dreams. However, you will notice that when you take little steps toward your dreams, real friends will start believing in you because they see that you really want that.

Read Also: How To Make Friends In A New City As A Couple?


You might lose some friends in your journey to success, but that doesn’t mean that more success means fewer friends.

If you pay enough attention, you prioritize your friends as you prioritize other things in life, you might be successful and have more, not less, friends than before.