posted by Matt W on October 29th, 2014

I read an interesting quote the other day. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  As I didn’t know who said it, I typed it in to the ole internet and “voilà”, Jim Rohn motivational speaker was attributed with this quote. As the picture associated with the quote only had 5 people hanging out together, missing the all-important “you” part of the quote, I quickly decided I was glad Jim wasn’t part of my group as he clearly sucks at math. But it did start me thinking.

Well, first off, this explains a lot about the decline in my golf game as I have gotten older (And as an aside, how much worse could Joe A. actually get, if he un-friended me?). Mental note: I need to start picking up more friends on the practice tee at the local golf course.

Then I started thinking about the definition of “spending time with.” Joe A. would most definitely count if you included phone conversations, but wouldn’t crack my top 50 if you only counted time actually spent together. Jon Stewart, with our daily ½ hour together would be pretty close to my top 5 if you counted TV personalities you’ve never actually met. My mind was starting to lose interest.

But then I started thinking about who I actually spend the most time with in person, and figured my dog would be very high on that list. And he is a true friend superstar! He is always friendly, amazingly loyal, super athletic, and has a dog IQ a few standard deviations above the dog mean, I’m golden. Hey, I should get a few more border collies! Then I thought that while old Jim isn’t the best at math, he’s probably pretty good at English and used the word “people” for a reason.  Bummer.

Then I started thinking about who my kids were hanging out with. Who did I need to lop off their friend list to give them a better start in life? Well, that Billy guy should definitely go, as he reminds me of Eddie Haskell. But who am I kidding, if there was any parental lopping to be done, my wife would probably use her vote on lopping me from my kid’s top 5, as I am probably their worst influence.

But back to me, is it more practical to bring in a new friend for a bump, not knowing what the potential downfalls might be, or work with existing friends?

How much of a bang for my “friend” buck would I get if I sent a few of my “current 5” to specialized training to beef up some of their weaknesses? How long would they be part of the “current 5” if I actually suggested it?

I think the safest course of action would be to bring prospective top 5 friends into that top 6-10 range for a while until I’m sure they represent an overall net gain. But does hanging out with them during the “try-out phase” come at a cost to my “current 5?” This whole friend thing just became a lot more pressure packed.

So, in conclusion, apparently, I need to be paying a lot more attention to who I hang out with, well at least the top 5. And secondly, I probably don’t want to publicize this too heavily among “my friends” because who knows which one might be looking for their own “friend” quality bump.

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