Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life – Chapter 3 Analysis

Make friends with people who want the best for you.

You can’t escape who you’ve been.
(p. 172)
Credit: Elle Hughes

And that’s okay. You don’t have to. Give yourself more credit!

We’ve all had those friendships we’ve had to reevaluate over time. Whether it’s the “friend” who only calls you when they need something, or the “friend” who encourages you to drink even though you don’t want to.

Why would you surround yourself with people who try to keep you down? Who don’t have your best interests at heart?

Because you have a low self-worth. You don’t find yourself worthy of human companionship, so you seek out individuals who will retain that negative feedback loop. Because it’s easier than trying to change. Easier than finding and cultivating new relationships. It’s familiar territory. It’s comfortable.

So when did you become comfortable with being tossed aside by the people who are supposed to be your friends?

You’ve creative a repetitive habit that you can’t get yourself out of.

Rescuing the Damned

Ever tried to help someone? It’s a noble endeavor when you feel you have something to offer them to make them a better person. Self-serving, sure, but these are the things you need to become a better person.

But what if that friend fails? That’s okay. You encourage them to try again. So they do. And they fail again. You begin to notice a pattern of motivated refusal. Because even though they continually fail, they’re being encouraged and coddled by you. This becomes, “I’m a terrible person. Pay attention to me.”

When you have one negative coworker on your team, what happens? Is everyone else motivated to do better to spite them? Nope. The negativity spreads. Excise it. Get rid of that dead weight that’s bringing you down. Then, happiness triumphs again.

Before you help someone, you must first understand why they need your help. Do they want to get better? Because you can’t take on their problems, adding to your own, if they aren’t actually willing to improve themselves.

Next time you want to make a new friend or reevaluate an old friendship, think about whether or not you’d recommend this person as a friend to someone else you care about. If the answer is no, why are you subjecting yourself to that bad behavior?

I know this one was short, but it was a relatively short chapter. No worries, though. I’ll be back soon with my analysis of Chapter 4!

Okay, bye!


Peterson, J.B.. (2018). 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos. Canada: Penguin Random House.

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