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?