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You may have heard the phrase, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn. The first time I heard it, I stopped in my tracks. “If that is true, how intentional am I really about who I’m spending my time with and how they’re shaping my values and actions?” I thought to myself.

In many ways, making friends is something that, through a lot of work and effort, has become easy for me. I’ve lived in several different cities in my adult life, and in each one, I’ve learned how to break out of my shell to build relationships with people who I can share life with—through fun outings, engaging conversation, and mutual support of each other’s lives. The thought that I’m being shaped by those I spend time with has led me to consider not only who I’m investing in, but also the influence—good and maybe not so good—I may have in my friend’s lives. Instead of rushing into a friendship, I’m beginning to slow down in the relationship building process to build bonds on the right foundation, so it can enrich my life more deeply.

This week at Verily we’re considering the foundational elements of relationships that inspire us toward goodness and authenticity. We have a piece from Alexandra Davis cautioning against building our friendships around commiseration. A piece by Victoria Rabuse argues for female-only groups as a way to encourage women in the culture today. A When She Knew, one of our reader submitted columns, by Sarah Horgan shares how a simple gesture revealed a depth of character she longed for in her future husband.

Join the conversation with us this week. Who is a friend in your life that has helped you become a better person? Tell us about this person here and your response may be shared in our daily email.