It’s likely that we can all recall a time when someone else’s behaviour has affected our own. When someone is nervous we can often be nervous for them, although we hold it in & tell them not to worry. When someone’s happiness beams from their smile, we often find ourselves grinning along with them and, in the same way, when someone is upset we usually feel low too. Empathy. But is this the case with personalities? Do we reflect other people’s personality traits when we spend time with them? Go, grab a coffee & let’s catch up…
What first sparked my interest in this subject was reading a research paper from 1950 written by a psychologist who goes by the name of ‘Festinger’. He studied the role of proximity and friendship patterns and found that the more you are near someone, the more likely you are to be friends (so value those friendships that last the distance- they’re real). Similar studies have been conducted suggesting that human traits are contagious- such as enthusiasm. Of course, there are contradicting opinions on this (as many think that your own values outweigh the likelihood of adapting to others), however I have to agree in this case. For example, It’s easy to fall in to the negative mindset trap when surrounded by so many people who lack enthusiasm.
I’ve heard many people profess that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Let’s stop for a moment and think. If this is true, who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? For me, this is my parents, my brother, one of my closest friends and probably a work colleague. Am I the average of all of those people? Probably not. Although I am able to reflect on some of their personality traits that I believe I have learned from spending time in their company.
That being said, I do agree that we learn an awful lot from others and should surround ourselves with the type of people we want to be. We should surround ourselves with people who inspire us. This is what I try to do on my social media feeds. If I see something that doesn’t make me feel good or give me an opportunity to think about something- I delete them. This can go for reality too. If someone is around you who is constantly bringing you down- don’t stand for it. Tell them that their actions are affecting you & if it continues, give yourself some space.
Now, just for fun… let’s think about this in celebrity terms. If you were to be an average of 5 famous people… who would they be? Use the comments below to let me know! Imagine being as talented as Gaga with the confidence of Ashley Graham, the kindness of Meryl Streep, the courage of Katie Piper & the intelligence of Michelle Obama.
Thank you for reading & allowing me to share my thoughts about what’s been on my mind lately. What do you think? Do you believe we are an average of the people we spend the most time with?
Until next time,