Who Are You Hanging Out With?

April 18, 2012

In his book, The Traveler’s Gift, Andy Andrews talks about how we are affected by those we spend our time with. He gives the example of how a parent is concerned about who their son or daughter becomes friends with.

The reason for this is simple. Kids are affected by the kids they hangout with. It affects their behavior, attitude, outlook, dress, the music they listen to, and even the way they walk and talk.

So, the question is this. At what age are we no longer affected by those we spend time with?

Is it 16, 18, 21, 30?

The truth is, we are affected by those we spend time with for the rest of our lives.

My life – my personality, my habits, even my speech – is a combination of the books I choose to read, the people I choose to listen to, and the thoughts I choose to tolerate in my mind. ― Andy Andrews

Question: Have you ever noticed this in yourself or your child?

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  • Reply Michael Wright April 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Yes and Yes. I asked the question tonight at Men’s group if the guys in the room were deeply affected by the behavior and attitude of their spouses. I’m sure you know the answer – “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

    I saw this principle demonstrated using the principle of being “unequally yoked” in a marriage one time. One person was sitting on the ground, the other was sitting on a stool. It was shown how EASY for the person on the ground to pull the one on the stool down, but how HARD it would be to pull this person on the ground UP to the stool. Negativity, gossip and idle talk are too human and fleshy – well all tend to gravitate to it to varying degrees. However, when you find those human gems that sparkle and dazzle with character, stick to them like glue.

    • Reply Michael Good April 19, 2012 at 7:06 am

      That’s a great analogy, Michael.

      I think this is huge in marriage. Not saying that Claudia and I have a perfect marriage, but when we got on the same page with things, the difference was enormous!

      Great point that we gravitate towards negativity, gossip, and idle talk. I think it’s helpful to be aware of this and constantly fight against it.

      Thanks for the input!

  • Reply Alyssa Glick April 19, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Durrell and I are HUGE on this concept. And we have noticed it in our lives, even as adults. We try to be purposeful in who we surround ourselves with.

    • Reply Michael Good April 19, 2012 at 7:00 am

      That’s great to hear; sounds like it’s paying off. Question: where have you been able to do this – church, work, friends, family, mentors, etc?

  • Reply Ann J Musico April 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Most definitely. There was a child my son Chris became friends with in elementary school. I actually had several teachers and aides come to me and tell me to discourage Chris from being friends with him because he was so badly behaved in class. I actually invited him for a play date and told him how I expected him to behave. He didn’t. I took him home and told him he wouldn’t be invited again for a long time because of his behavior. Maybe 5 or 6 months later I invited him again – he remained one of my son’s good friends all through school – he always behaved well at my home and called me “mom.” I made it clear to my son why he wasn’t coming back any time soon and that I didn’t want to see his behavior change. God instructed the Israelites not to be involved with some of the people they came in contact with in the Promised Land – we have to be just as careful. I know when I used to spend more time with a particular woman – I always felt depressed and drained – she was so negative. I had to cut that relationship short. Who we spend time with is very important.

    • Reply Michael Good April 21, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Great input, Ann! I love seeing Biblical examples of these life lessons.

      Boy, isn’t is so true that if we’re around a down and out person that it really starts to rub off. I know I’ve experienced this before.

      It’s like what Michael Wright had mentioned recently. When we’re around people that complain a lot, we too start complaining about things we don’t even care about.

  • Reply Joe Lalonde April 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Oh boy, this is a loaded question Michael!

    As a youth leader, I see this all the time. There are students who are awesome. I love spending time with them and getting to know them. Yet you join three or four specific students together and it’s chaos.

    They morph into these people you didn’t know they could be. Loud, obnoxious, trying to one up each other. The disrespect that happens when they’re together is amazing.

    But, like I said, you separate them and they’re great.

    I’ve also noticed it when I hang out with some friends and family members who have a negative attitude. It brings me down and I start to complain about things that I don’t really care about.

    • Reply Michael Good April 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      Joe, that’s got to be a unique perspective as a youth leader. Makes me think of Kent Julian and his message to teens about “who wants to be normal anyway.”

      Good observation about the negative attitudes and complaining. I don’t think you or I want to be complaining about things we don’t really care about. Sounds awful, really.

      • Reply Joe Lalonde April 20, 2012 at 6:45 am

        Right! When I get in situations like and complain about things I don’t care about, I usually feel dirty when I leave. Not pleasant at all. But maybe that’s God’s prompting that things need to change.

  • Reply Raun Lauterbach April 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Who you choose to spend time with absolutely makes a difference. Even down to who you follow on Twitter and who you like on Facebook. There was one person, a while back, that I had to stop following on Twitter because I got to the point where every time I looked at my feed, I negative reaction on the off chance that this one person was spewing their hatred again — not at me, but in general. I actually dreaded seeing what other friends were up to because of the possibility that this person would destroy my mood. Click “Unfollow” and problem solved. Great topic.

    • Reply Michael Good April 21, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Raun, I hear you. That’s a great point to apply this to Twitter and Facebook. I hadn’t thought about that, but it totally mike sense.

      Thanks for the input.

  • Reply robclinton April 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Yes! Whether we think we’re following behaviors or not, the presence of other people’s attitudes has very profound affects on our lives. We’re all mirrors, and in some way we’re reflecting everything in our lives. This is why I’m very intentional with this. I want to be among greatness, because greatness just like anything else is contagious.

    • Reply Michael Good April 21, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Well put, Rob. Well put. “Greatness just like anything else is contagious.” Love it!

      • Reply robclinton April 23, 2012 at 11:54 am

        Amen; it’s time to get infected by greatness! :)

  • Reply Joe Abraham April 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Good post and good question, Michael. It’s true that our relationships play a major role in creating our culture and life style.

    • Reply Michael Good April 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Joe, thanks for the comment. It’s one of those things that I believe has a huge bearing on what our life looks like. Have you found this true in your own life?

  • Reply Ryan Ash April 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Great stuff, Michael! Parents are usually concerned with who their kids hang around, but we don’t always set the proper example. I love how Dave Ramsey talks about his parents listening to motivational tapes, taking him to see Zig Ziglar, etc. It makes a difference!

    • Reply Michael Good April 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Absolutely, Ryan. I didn’t know that about Dave Ramsey. Reminds me of Kevin Miller. He said he grew up listen to Zig as well.

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