Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Sum of Five- How your five closest friends shape who you are

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Who is your best friend? Think about his/her qualities, good and bad. OK, now how about your closest family members? What are they like? While we're at it, think of anybody that your close with, be it family, friends, coworkers, online buddies... who makes up your inner circle?

It's important to identify those closest to you because chances are they're affecting you in ways you've never considered. In fact, as the saying goes, "you are the sum of the five people closest to you."

At first glance it may seem like a nice thing to put on a calendar or a social media post. In actuality, it is extremely spot-on. We really are impacted by those with whom we spend the most time.

I'll give some examples. Say you go out to eat with a friend. Studies show that if you eat with somebody who eats so fast that they basically breathe their food, you'll most likely try to keep pace. However, if you're out with somebody who slowly picks at their food, or perhaps a young child who would rather make a catapult out of their cutlery, you'll be persuaded to slow down as well. Even if the reason is only to pick the mashed potatoes out of the neighboring booth's light fixture.

Let's take it a step further and look at social influences. Some of us may have fallen in with bad crowds, or perhaps known those who have. Did they, or you, pick up the bad habits of the group?

However, if you decided to join the "read and exercise club" at the local library, you could imagine the benefits. (Also, please sign me up if that ever exists).

We generally tend to either seek out those who have similar interests, or we'll develop the interests and habits of those who seek us out. As I stated, this can go either way, it's your call.

So take a close look at your innermost social circle. Is it a kind-hearted best friend, a loving spouse and some awesome kids? Perhaps it's a coworker that constantly complains, the boss who makes your life miserable and a few internet buddies that allow for a constant vent-session. Which scenario do you think is better for your health?

If you think your five closest people aren't influencing your life, think again. In addition, if you don't think you're influencing theirs, guess again.

Oil and water don't mix, so if you feel constant tension between how you want to live and how your inner circle makes you feel, maybe you can make a change. On the other hand, if you have a supportive group, show them your appreciation and let them know you love them. It's your life, and your circle, there's no reason to live it any way other than happy.

Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at and has a budding YouTube channel.

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Andy Frisch, column, fitness, friends, Get Fresh, happiness, health, nutrition, personal trainer, wellness
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