Who Do You Associate With?

Who we hang around with the most will either help you succeed or help you fail. Be sure to get the right help

When you think of your friends, have you ever wondered why they are your friends? Do you see yourself in them, and do they see themselves in you? Basically, you are who you attract. Have you heard the phrases “like attracts like” or “kindred spirits?”

That is basically who your friends are. It is exactly the same with the people who you associate with in work. Do you see yourself in them, and do they see themselves in you?

What team are your work associates on? What kind of team players are your work associates? What type of people are they; disruptive, slackers, or do they make a difference? Do they help you and encourage you? Do they hold you back? It’s important that you associate with the right people, because everybody can see it.

1. Are Your Associates Disruptive In Your Life?

If you are seen to be disruptive at work and you associate with disruptive people, then that will be noticed by EVERYONE. If you are seen to slack off and try to get away with as little work as possible and you associate with the slackers, then that will also be seen by EVERYONE.


If you are seen to make a real difference at work and you associate with others that make a difference, then that will be seen by EVERYONE. You cannot get away with anything at work, EVERYTHING will be noticed. So the question is “Who do you associate with?”

If you’re reading my articles and thinking to yourself that you can be disruptive and so can your associates, or you are a slacker and so are your associates, then don’t worry. To change yourself from either being disruptive or slacking to a difference maker, then you have to be honest with yourself.

Do you enjoy being disruptive, or do you value that you can get away with doing as little as possible? If you do, then you cannot change. You must value making a difference, not only at work, but in the world.

What do you think of others who really work hard to make a difference in the world? What do you think of their friends and associates?

It is very possible to change your associates from the disruptive or slacking kind, to a difference maker. You just need to sell yourself and convince the group of difference makers that you too are a difference maker, and that you value making a difference.

2. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The only way to prove that is by taking action, and showing them, not just telling them. Actions speak louder than words.

The people I try to always associate with are high impact people. They are difference makers, leaders, hard workers, helpful, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating.

The reason I associate with them is because I want to be that type of person. Have you heard the phrase “You become the average of the five people we associate with”? I believe it to be true.

Think of how your friends and associates dress. How do they act? How do they talk? What do they say? What do they believe in? Can you see yourself in all of these traits?

I can see myself in all of my friends and associates, that’s why they are a huge part of my life and they make me happy. Do you feel the same way about your friends and associates?

Do they influence you in a positive way? Do they help you and encourage you to stay on the right direction on your journey? Do they enhance your life?

3. Who Do You Pay Attention To?

I was mentoring an engineer who once confronted me and made life difficult, he was associating with disruptive people. It was easy to see from his demeanor and behaviour that he was enjoying being disruptive.

Following my chat with him and his decision to change, he stopped associating with those people and looked for new associates.

When you start to look for new people to associate with, it does take some time. So, you might find yourself associating with only yourself for a while. Ensure during that time when on your own that you do not default back to your old associates, you MUST leave those people behind if you want to change.

What is good about associating with yourself is, you will have time to work on yourself and develop. Then by the time you want to interact with difference makers and high impact people, you will have developed and learned new values that are similar to theirs. So it is important to be on your own for a little while at first.

It can be difficult to just associate with yourself and be on your own for a while, but I promise you things will get better when you associate with new people. Especially high impact people.

The engineer I mentored used his break times and lunch times to work on himself when at work. Then after a while when he felt himself changing, he was enjoying it.

He had a new purpose in his life, and it was a purpose that he chose himself, I only offered encouragement. He did not share his purpose to anyone until he was absolutely on the right direction and on his journey to changing for the better.

When he finally shared his new purpose to everyone and let people know that he was now working on himself with guidance from me, people started to take notice. They saw that he was a changed man, and that he had something to prove to himself, to his team, to his new associates and to his leaders.

4. Stay Away From Negative People

When I first left Liverpool and went to Scotland as a production manager, I was part of a team who by job description and job title should have automatically been a difference maker and a high flyer. However, that wasn’t the case.

There were two members of the production management team who were slackers, and tried to get away with as little as possible. They would even blame other members of the team for things that they did themselves.

So, I made the quick decision to not associate with those two members, and instead associate with people who were more like me and would help me.

At first, I was based in Edinburgh in their train depot for two years, and then I changed over to the more prestigious depot with the newer train fleets in Glasgow. The influence I had on my colleagues was working, and increasing to the rest of the engineering team in a different city.

Looking back at that time in Scotland, if I had associated with the two disruptive production managers then I may not be where I am now. I may still be in the same job, just getting away with what I could, with no influence on the team, my peers or my leaders.

If you are an ambitious person and you want to climb the ladder in your business or organisation, then take a real hard look at the people you associate with. If you are the average of the five people you associate with the most, how does that look?


If you want to make a difference and you implement what I am sharing in my articles, then you may (or may not) want to rethink who you associate with.

It’s a shame, but the people we associate with the most, are usually the people who are talking us out of things, or trying to change our mind on things, and holding us back.

As part of your personal growth and development, it will be an achievement to stop associating with those closest to us if they are the ones holding us back.

If you want to stay on the right direction towards your journey, then the people you take with you MUST be the right people.

It is very difficult to change people, but it is a lot easier to CHANGE THE PEOPLE

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

24 thoughts on “Who Do You Associate With?

  1. Hi Tom,

    it’s a very good article who do you associate with

    big topic in general day-to-day people the energy that surrounds them number one themself and number two people they engage with family, work colleagues etc

    The impact of people that are not similar to oneself or not similar on the same journey or goals you are trying to achieve can be some times not good.

    Even though this is where jealousy comes into where you can get people disrupting you from your goals.

    By trusting the gut feeling you will achieve your goals by paying attention to your gut feeling is a big one but never lets you down.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hi Tommy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found it valuable.

      Who you surround yourself with and who you associate with is a huge topic, you are right. We are the average of the 5 people we mostly spend our time with. So we should be surrounding ourselves with people who inspire us and encourage us to be our best selves.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  2. Hey Tom.
    A great article about how important is to choose one social circle. I have to agree with you on 100%. The ones we are hanging out around are the ones, who express us in some way or another. I also agree that in order to be successful and happy you have to leave behind those, who are not fitting your requirements anymore. Anyway, there are times when that can be very difficult to do. If for instance, that person is your really close friend or even family. What would you suggest as a good solution in this case?
    Thanks and best luck further with your site!

    1. Hi Julius,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you find the article important and you found it helpful.

      If you have a really close friend or family member who is not inspiring you and holding you back, then you need to have that difficult conversation with them. Explaining where you want to go in life, and that you need to surround yourself with inspiring people. Tell them why they are not inspiring you, or why you feel they are holding you back. Give them the chance to change, and help them to change. If after a certain amount of time, they don’t change then you have the right to move on from them. It is difficult to do but it absolutely necessary if you want to strive towards your goals and dreams.

      Thank you for your question and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. Tom, as always great article! Love this site and all that you share about being an effective leader. This is an incredible lesson to learn and something I struggled with for a long time. I am a people pleaser and can enable negative behaviors in my life. I started changing that a few years ago and have seen incredible strides in my personal development! How would you recommend working with people who are close friends but start exhibiting negative and toxic traits? Thanks again for the informative article!

    1. Hi Vince,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article and my site valuable, it really does lift me up.

      Thank you so much for being so honest and sharing your experiences with us too. Julius asked me a similar question.

      If you have close friends who start exhibiting negative and toxic traits then you have to be open and honest with them about it and tell them. But, do it in a very calm way. Explain to them how their behaviours are making you and others feel, and how you want to help them to become more positive. Then let them explain the reasons why they are behaving in that way. If they are open and honest with you too, then you can work with them to help them. If they are not then it might be time to dis-associate with them if they are holding you back.

      If you want to discuss this further then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      All the best,


  4. Who do you associate with can be a very important part of if we succeed or fail, I especially can relate since I stay away from negative people my own attitude is more positive than in the past. I spend more time helping others than the other way around, so do you think that is a positive part of my success, I do know it does make me feel good inside so I do it with pleasure not because I feel I have to.


    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      You are absolutely right, who we associate with is very important towards our success. I love how you have opened up about how you were in the past and that now you want to help others with pleasure. Keep up that attitude and if I can help you in anyway then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,


  5. Great tips once again! I like the ACT part the most. Action indeed changes things. We either create or disintegrate by remaining idle. Thanks for sharing this powerful article.

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found the article powerful.

      Try to use ACT in your own life and let me know if it is working for you or not. If I could assist you with this then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,


  6. Hi Tom. Leadership and people interaction in general probably has more importance these days than it has in the past particularly as we see more and more influencers taking to social media – both political and otherwise.

    In terms of the people that we associate or surround ourselves with, I also think its important that we have a degree of self awareness first and this usually doesn’t come until we have made a few mistakes and gotten a little older so we can learn from them. In my view it is then that we can make some of those tougher decisions and disassociate with or engage with those that have a positive impact on our lives as we continue to grow.

    A very useful Post Tom so thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you have found the article useful.

      Thank you for sharing your views and I agree that self awareness is important. Making mistakes and learning from them is very important as we need to use mistakes and failures as stepping stones to keep striving towards our goals.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. Love this article Tom! I totally agree with you, who you associate with says alot about you as a person. I think as I’ve gotten older and hopefully wiser, my circle of friends has become smaller but I’m okay with that. Priorities and interests have shifted. At work, I associate with people who have the same work ethic as I. I don’t like hanging out in the employee lounge if other people are just there to gossip – it serves no useful purpose to me.

    1. Hi Dana,

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I’m so pleased that you love the article and that it’s been helpful for you.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and who you associate with. I too have a smaller circle of friends these days, but they are friends who challenge and support me, and I them. They are friends who believe in me and what I am doing. My work colleagues are the same.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  8. I think I can understand what you mean about being with the wrong crowd, this applies to outside work as well. Sometimes the friends you associate with can affect your overall attitude in general. So it can be good to leave them behind as well.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      You are right, these principles are not just for the workplace, they are for all areas of life. Leaving behind a person or people who are holding you back, don’t believe in you or what you’re doing and don’t want you to move on in your life is an absolute must.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  9. I firmly believe this to be very true Tom. While I still have much of my life ahead of me and don’t have much evidence to prove that what you say is both true and important, I firmly believe in what George Washington said “Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own repuation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” Thanks a lot for this powerful article!

    1. Hi Alejandro,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article powerful.

      You are right, even if you are young in years (you are very wise) you can can still understand and appreciate what I am saying. You can still take it on board and be able to use the information at any time within your life. Keep this up with everything you do and be like a sponge when absorbing new and important information in.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  10. I love your last quote about change people and change the people. I admit I had to read it twice – I blame that to not being English ROFLOL. 🙂
    But your article is again spot on. I remember the first time someone said the similar to me. I became angry with this person. I thought it meant opportunistic behavior and resented that idea. But he (and you) was right of course.
    It’s so easy to see where people had a negative impact once I stepped back and had a good look!

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found it valuable.

      Thank you again for sharing your experiences, and I apologise for the last quote not making sense straight away 🙂

      Sometimes it takes a minute or two to get what someone is saying, because I used to do the same. I would react angrily without really thinking about what is said. I was pre-judging before I’d really thought about it. But now, we both take a step back and understand first before we react. Keep that up.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  11. Hi Tom,

    I absolutely love the saying, “You become the average of the five people we associate with”.

    It’s not an ideal that I lived by, or understood, in my younger days – both in my personal and working life.

    However, it is definitely a path I have chosen to follow as I’ve matured.

    You are perfectly correct, and whatever role we chose to take on in the working environment will get noticed by EVERYONE (sooner or later).

    I have found that by associating with those that I respect and aspire to be like, they somehow “drag me along” to their level.

    A great read as always.

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your thorough comment and kind words as always. I’m so pleased that you love that quote because I love it too.

      Thank you for sharing about who you associate with and how they “drag you along” to their level. If they are people you respect then I would say they “lift you up” to their level. Drag you along sounds a bit drastic 🙂

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  12. A very interesting article. I cannot agree with you more Tom. Negative people will always drive negative energy especially when you are trying to reach your goals in life. I have stopped associating myself with people who aim to hold me back in life!

    1. Hi Ekufaa,

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I’m so pleased that you found the article interesting and I hope it has helped you a lot.

      Good for you that you stopped associating with negative people. You are absolutely right, they drive negative energy and will hold you back or pull you down. So keep doing what you are doing and avoid associating with them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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