It’s really important who you hang out with.
At least, that’s what my mom told me a lot when I was younger. Her and many parents take friend influences seriously, and with good reason: none of us would be the person we are today without the influences of the people we surround ourselves with.
There’s the nature vs. nurture argument as well: the idea that our roots take precedence over our upbringing and environment, and vice versa. But individuals become who they are due to a mix of both nature and nurture, and also what they aspire to be. Perhaps that’s why so many of us admire our friends* – because you hang out with people who possess qualities you like (either subconsciously or consciously).
*Of course, you can also admire your friends simply because they’re your friends. The moment you become chummy with them is the moment you don rose-coloured glasses.
I have kind friends and hilarious friends and thoughtful friends and artsy friends and musical friends and intellectual friends and strong-willed friends and protective friends and ohmygoodnessCUTE friends, and most of them have all of these qualities packed into one body. Since friends rub off on you after awhile (several times I’ve noticed myself using my friends’ little mannerisms), we’ve all probably picked up a bunch of things from each other accidentally or through emulation.
It’s this kind of thinking that spurs questions: which qualities have we picked up, and from whom? (As Tumblr suggests, we should all get a book that says which qualities we’ve adopted from people we know. That’d be cool.) Are we all inspirations and catalysts for change in the eyes of each other? Is it in this way that people carry pieces of us with them, wherever they go? Will we always be present in the way they run their hands through their hair or in the little catchphrases they say?
It’s pretentious to want to leave a mark on the people you hang out with, but there’s something nice about thinking that a fragment of yourself is alive in another.