• Chantal Porter

What Your Circle of Friends Says About You

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

You have probably heard the saying show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are. It is a profound statement that carries a lot of depth. A newborn baby learns how to talk, walk and relate to people from his/her parents. In other words, everything they learn is from their association. A lot of people today are of the notion that they cannot be influenced by what they see in the media or by friends and family. As human beings, we are always learning whether consciously or sub-consciously. Adults, like children, are able to absorb what they see around them. It is hard-wired into our systems to adapt to different circumstances for survival purposes. A statement made by Jim Rohn, "You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with", is the perfect reference point for what comes next.

How likely is that a child who lives in a violent home, will show some signs of violent behavior in school? According to Domestic Violence Round table, most experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. The influence of the abusive parent and the victims perpetuates this belief on a sub-conscious level. Here's another example- a young girl growing up in a home, with parents and extended family members who suffer from obesity, is likely to suffer from obesity. According to Mission.Org, a study conducted by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler provided alarming results. They analyzed the data from the Framingham Heart Study, and these are the results:

  • If one of your friends' becomes obese, you have a 45% risk of becoming obese.

  • If your friend's friend is obese, you now have a 25% risk of becoming obese.

  • If the friend of your friend's friend becomes obese, you have a 10% risk.

The results show that you can be influenced directly by your friends and family, and indirectly by the people associated with your friends and family. The major take away from this is that you need to know your circle. Your association is capable of making or breaking you. Based on this principle you need to surround yourself with positive people. There is a famous quote by Albert Einstein-

"Stay away from negative they have a problem for every solution. "

There are people out there who complain about everything that happens. Every day for them is a bad day, regardless of what happens. On the other hand, there are also people who face struggles every day, but they still see the good in all the hardships that they face. Negative people drain your energy, resources, time and money. Positive people refill your energy tank and help you to build a better life for yourself. Here's one thing that you have probably noticed, misery loves company. Groups of people who focus on negative topics often compete with each other 'for who has the most messed up life' at each outing. The below conversation can be used as a reference:

Sample negative conversation

Friend number 1: Do you know what happened at work today? My boss got on my last nerves.

Friend number 2: Do you think that's bad? You should have seen how Erica looked at me during the meeting.

Friend number 3: That still isn't worse than what happened to me at lunch yesterday...

Beware of negative conversations!

I think you can tell where this is going, each member of the negative self-talk group, feels obligated to scale up on the negativity, in an effort to outdo the previous friend. It then creates a pattern for the group, so each member will be on the lookout for something to discuss at the end of the week. Sounds crazy right? In most instances, this happens on a subconscious level, so unknowingly your brain is on the lookout for anything that could go wrong. Now, in the event that it doesn't find anything, it will create a scenario for you, just so that you can be a part of the conversation. If you want to be fit, happy or whatever else you need to surround yourself with people of like-minds. It is very simple, you are who you hang out with, so be mindful of your circle.

Successful people surround themselves with successful people who want to be successful. You can use this to support the theory that, you are the average of the 5 people you spend time with. Your circle influences who you are, so if you believe that you are a good person, surround yourself with good people. Do not feel guilty if you have to sever some ties or hang out less with a group of people. Spend some time to analyze your circle and make the best decisions for you.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see." - Confucius

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