How Your 5 Best Friends Influence You

Elizabeth Connolly
Elizabeth Connolly

   “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn

If your best friend, family member, or spouse is obese, you are up to 50% more likely to become obese yourself.1 Divorce also spreads like wildfire. People who have divorced friends are 75% more likely to become divorced themselves.2 Don’t’ worry, it works both ways: if you have a friend living close by who is happy, you have a 25% higher chance of becoming happy yourself.3 This is why #squadgoals matter.

Establish the Ultimate Squad

Surround yourself with encouraging, confident people who want you to thrive. Keep squad members close who will sharpen your skills, help you carry on when you want to give up, and most of all, people who you can look up to. The inadequacy you feel hanging around people who are smarter, more fit, and more successful may be a tough pill to swallow but you’ll find these are the ones who make us better. These are the ones that I am proud of say I am the sum of.

Evaluate the squad members closest to you and determine if they elevate or drain you. Here are 5 ways to create the ultimate squad:

1) Spend more time with those in your life that you admire and can learn from. Have them introduce you to their friends too. Chances are they already hang around people who are successful.

2) Always be learning. Audiobooks and podcasts are my favorite source for discovering. I always have an inspiring story to relate my current situation to that helps me look up. And if you can look up, you can get up.

3) Reduce the amount of time you spend with that friend you know you shouldn’t hangout with. That friend who’s doing nothing with his or her life. That friend who’s always complaining. You know who I’m talking about.

4) Follow inspirational people and those who you can learn from on social media channels. @brookeence @urijahfaber @ejanss @mikerashid

5) Remember greatness attracts greatness. If you work on yourself, successful people will come to you.

Struggling with dieting in social situations? Check out our post on why people keep pressuring you to quit your diet.


1. Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D. “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 years”. N Engl J Med. July 26, 2007; 357:370-379. Scholarly Journal Article. June 6, 2015.

2. Rose McDermott, Ph.D., James Fowler, Ph.D., and Nicholas Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. “Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone Else is Doing it Too: Social Network Effects on Divorce in a Longitudinal Sample” PMC December 2013; 92(2): 491–519. Scholarly Journal Article. June 6, 2015

3. James H Fowler, associate professor, Nicholas A Christakis, professor. “Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study” BMJ 2008;337:a2338. Scholarly Journal Article. June 6, 2015

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