Did your mama ever tell you that? Did you ever have a questionable friend and your mama (or daddy) met them, and then later warned you against that friend?
My sister, while I was growing up, had many questionable friends. My mom would regularly remind her, "You lie down with dogs; you get up with fleas."
The Power of 'Company'
Basically, my mom was talking about the power of 'company'. Birds of a feather flock together and all that. We've all heard of people who were promising but 'fell in with a bad crowd', right? The power of the pack or mob mentality cannot be denied. And although we (mostly) become more resistant to it as we age, it is still true that we are likely to surround ourselves with people whose behaviors we, on the whole, approve of.
When you're dating someone, look at who their friends are and what the common theme of the prevailing attitudes among their friends are. This will tell you a lot about your potential partner's attitudes and beliefs.
Permissive Environments for Bad Behaviors/Choices
Be very careful if you detect sexism among your date's friends. And most especially be careful if his/her friends provide a 'permissive' environment. For example, do a lot of your date's friends seem to do drugs or not have jobs? That's a recipe for trouble. Those friends will definitely provide a permissive environment for drugs.
Permissive Environments for Dishonesty
Or perhaps you've noticed a permissive environment like this one: your date's friends cheat on their partners and have the attitude that whatever he/she doesn't know won't hurt him/her. Sure it won't. Until he or she finds out. Yep, that is usually when it hurts. Watch for this attitude among your date's friends.
Friends Who Are Usually 'Less than'
Another thing to watch for -- does your date surround him or herself with people who are perhaps less successful, attractive, or just generally people who would not be considered his or her equal in some way? Sure, we all have friends who perhaps are not as pretty or intelligent as us. But then it usually balances out in some way - perhaps we have one advantage over that person but they have another, different advantage over us. A healthy friendship is one in which friends consider themselves fellows, or another word for it would be equals.
Observation Gives You Information
Observing whom your date chooses to associate him or herself with will tell you a lot. As always, use your judgment. By staying observant and remaining rational about what you see, you can save yourself a lot of wasted time and heartache. As human beings, we have a desire to 'belong' or get the approval of others. For people who choose to cheat, lie, or do drugs, or have other bad behaviors, it is no different. They will seek to create an environment in which they feel accepted. That translates to choosing people who accept their cheating, lying, drug use, or other unacceptable behaviors. If you notice this about your date, feel it out a little bit and then trust your gut. Cut it off before you get sucked in too far.
As always, use your judgment and listen to your gut. Dating is part logic, part observation, and definitely part heart. But if your intuition is telling you something, never ignore it. More than ever, your boundaries are especially important.
Need some advice? Leave a comment and I'll answer you within the blog.
Thanks for reading!