Tell Me Who Your Friends Are and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

There’s a great saying in Spanish, “Dime quienes son tus amigos y te diré quien eres,” and it translates into, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”  I think that when I was younger the wisdom of this saying would have been lost on me.  I would have thought, “Duh, of course my friends are like me, that’s why we’re friends.”  But now that I’m older (and hopefully a little wiser) I absolutely get it.  When we’re older the people we fill our lives with are by choice, no longer dictated by alphabetized roommate assignments in college or random cubicle set ups at work, but by a common viewpoint in life.

Why do I bring this up in this particular blog, which is geared toward romantic issues?  To urge you to look at whom your potential partner surrounds himself or herself with.  These are people who share a lot of the same values with him.  (I’ll just stick to “him” to make writing and reading this less confusing.)  What they are like reveals a lot about him.  Notice if they have integrity and are mature and behave in a considerate manner toward you and others, because he likely shares their opinions on how to treat other people and how to live life.  Some obvious warning signs are if he mentions that one of his friends cheats on his girlfriend or spouse.  Does your guy laugh at this or mention it with some concern?  Do his friends still go out drinking like college frat boys and get drunk regularly?  And, does he join them?  We’ve all been dumb in our day, but once you’re out of your early 30’s it’s not so cute and forgivable, it becomes sorry and pathetic.  Does he laugh if his friend stiffs the waiter his tip or makes fun of someone’s accent?  Of course, he’s not responsible for his friends’ behavior and he may not even condone it, but by keeping people who are cheaters, liars, or basically just lack integrity in their lives as friends he shows that he accepts such behavior in his life even when he could simply let it go.  We can’t always choose who our bosses, our neighbors, or our office mates are, but we certainly choose who our friends are and who we let stay in our lives.

I’m not saying that our friends have to be perfect – we certainly aren’t.  But in order to keep them as friends we certainly accept them and their behavior.  For example, I might have a friend who smokes even if I don’t or who is a vegetarian even if I’m not.  But I won’t have a friend who uses heroin.  That’s just something I won’t accept in my life, even if it doesn’t affect me directly.  It’s not even necessarily about the behavior but about the fact that it highlights how differently we value life and how we handle life.  Nor would I accept a friend whose business is to hurt people by scamming them out of their money, because my work is all about helping people.  Our viewpoints of life and work are just too different.  That’s why my dating advice is to be watchful and see if he surrounds himself with people with integrity, who have good intentions, or immature people, who are looking to get over, because on a fundamental level he is in agreement with them and you need to know that.  So be watchful, not necessarily judgmental, just watchful and choose the kind of romantic partner that you let into your life. 

Do you agree or disagree?  If you were to cut out friends who lack integrity from your life are you afraid you’d be left with no one?

 

Featured Posts

start stop

These 2 Questions Will Solve All Your Problems!

These 2 questions will solve all your problems! Am I sounding too much like an infomercial?  And...I'll even throw in this paring knife! Ok, now seriously. If you have a problem, then here are two killer questions to help you hone in on a solution.  Ask yourself: What am I doing that I shouldn't be? What am I not doing that I should? Simple huh? But brilliant. Why? Because, let's be honest, we all know that there are things we say we're going to do but don't. And, there are things … [Read More...]

woman in pain

Pain – The Great Change Motivator

Sometimes I get a call or an email from someone who is interested in beginning therapy. We talk, they tell me a bit about their situation, we set up an appointment, and they cancel. We try again and they cancel. At that point, I know they're not going to start therapy and I know why: they're just not in enough pain. Pain is the great change motivator. Pain is what causes you to say, "I never want to go through that again. I'm willing to do something, anything different!" Pain is what leads … [Read More...]

balancing act

Achieving Balance

Balance is a new buzzword of late.  People often talk about achieving work-life balance.  Usually that means trying to spend less hours working in order to fit in more non-work activities, such as spending time with family or friends. I'd like to discuss a slightly different form of balance: a balance of your inner and outer worlds.  By the outer world, I mean what you do that is external or directed outward from your physical being.  In other words, what you create in the world, whether a … [Read More...]

angry man

4 Tips for Dealing with Anger

Anger has gotten a bad reputation.  As I always tell my patients who have trouble acknowledging their anger or expressing it in a healthy way, "Anger is a healthy response to being disrespected."  By suggesting tips to help you understand and handle your anger, I'm not at all saying that feeling anger is a bad thing.  But acting out of anger often turns into a bad thing.  These tips are to help you deal with anger in a healthier way, not to eliminate the feeling from your emotional repertoire.  … [Read More...]

broken rings

4 Tips for Getting through Divorce

Divorce is painful.  There’s no getting around it.  Whether you were the one who initiated it or not, it is still likely be one of the most painful periods in your life.  These tips are for getting through the first month or two after it’s decided that you’re getting divorced. 1.   Be kind to yourself and don’t overdo You’re getting divorced and it feels like a shock.  It seems like life is moving on, carrying your body along with it, but your brain and heart are stuck in limbo.  You’re … [Read More...]

Psychotherapist Manhattan | Anxiety Therapy Manhattan | Stress Therapy Manhattan | Depression NYC | Stress Reduction NYC | Anxiety Manhattan | Psychologist Manhattan | Counseling NYC | Marital Counseling NYC | Therapist Manhattan | Couples Counseling NYC | Cognitive Therapy NYC