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Social Connections Can Shape Your Life — Forewarned Is Forearmed!

People you communicate shape your social connections that greatly affect your life – that is probably not a surprise for you!

BUT, I am pretty sure that some of the facts you will learn shortly will be at least surprising if not shocking.

In this article, you will not only realize that the people you associate with greatly affect important factors in your life but you will also understand how to make use of this information to change your life for the better.


Here are some facts about how you can be affected by the situations and behavior of people around you. Researches have shown that:

  1. 80% of today’s jobs are a result of networking.
  2. The probability of an individual deciding to have a child increases dramatically after his/her sibling has a child. Moreover, the quantity of children an individual has is dependent on the quantity of children the individual’s relatives have.
  3. 68% of spouses are introduced to each other through a mutual social connection.
  4. 80% of the cases when we give to charity is because of the ask of someone we know.


Do you ever find your behaviour is very similar to that of your spouse?

Don't worry, you aren’t alone. Lots of researches have shown that spouses often share several similar behavioural traits as they influence each other’s qualities and habits.

The “widowhood effect” or “dying of a broken heart” effect is a testimony to this. This effect refers to the increase in the probability of a person dying a relatively short time after their long-time spouse has died.

The behaviour of your friends too can influence that of yours. For example, the chances of you drinking, smoking, committing a crime is dependent on whether your friend circle also does the same. As a matter of fact, even your political preference and the likelihood of you being overweight or divorced is influenced by them.

Researches have also shown that level of income of an individual is very similar to that of the 5-6 people they surround themselves with.

Don’t believe it?

Try it out for yourself!

Think about the incomes of the 5-6 closest people to you...are they similar to that of yours?


What came first the egg or the chicken?

As you can see by now, the people you associate and communicate with can have a profound affect on your behaviour. Therefore, the chances that you will share similarities with them are high. However, here is the dilemma - is it that people you associate with are similar to you OR is it that you selectively associate with people who are already similar to you? In either case, the result is that your social network greatly affects you!


Stranger Danger

Interesting fact: not only your friends but also the friends of your friends can affect your behaviour. This is because we strive to correspond to the standards of living of the immediate society around us. For example, in an experiment, people were given two options to pick from:

  1. Work in a company that paid $33K while everyone else received $30K
  2. Work in a company that paid $35K while everyone else received $38K

Logically, you would assume that most people picked the Option 2, right? Surprisingly, you are wrong. Most people picked Option 1. This is because we are constantly judging ourselves in relation to standards set by the surroundings.

Strangers too can sometimes influence your behaviour. For example, in an experiment when a group of “actors” randomly started staring at the sky, the people passing by also mimicked the same, even though there was nothing in the sky!


Are you really the average of 6-7 people you spend the most time with!?

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with,” said Jim Rohn (one of the most well-known gurus in the personal development area).

While many researches have proved the huge effect other people can have on you, is Jim Rohn’s “5 closest people” estimation really that accurate?

Well surprisingly, his intuitive evaluation is pretty close. Researchers have found that, on average, an individual may have around 110 Facebook friends, but the reality of the number of close friends is only 6.6! So to be very accurate, ‘you are the average of 6-7 people you spend the most time with!’

Now that you have learnt of the profound impact people you associate and communicate with can have on you, what does that mean for you?

Here are the key take-away lessons from this article:

  1. You are the average of the 6-7 closest people to you. Since the number of people who can have a profound impact on you is very small, you must pick these 6-7 people carefully.
  2. Strive to spend your time with people who you wish to be. If you can’t find such people in your close surroundings, indirectly associate with them through books, webinars, podcasts etc.
  3. If there are people in your close surroundings that are affecting you negatively, you should not hesitate to decrease your communications with them. Vacate negatively influencing people for those who can change your life for the better.
Igor Smirnov

Igor Smirnov

Psychologist, blogger, chess Grandmaster, Internet entrepreneur. Follow Igor on Facebook

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