This morning I felt like it might be a good idea to share a couple of quotes. They are quotes that impact (or can) how you relate to others and who those others are. Remembering these wise words can help you avoid associations that are not in your best interest or are, at best, hurtful to how others perceive you based on your “friends.”

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
– George Washington

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
– George Washington

I put those two quotes from President Washington together for a reason: they both speak to how you present yourself, are perceived and the impact the presence of others can have. The first focuses on who you give your trust to; who you confide in; who you allow “into your inner circle.” The second is about who you associate with in general and the importance of making sure you maintain high standards… to insure YOU are perceived of as a person with standards.

In today’s world, especially with the ease of use of social media, it’s all too simple to share intimate or personal information with someone you barely know… whether it’s knowing them face to face or only in the virtual realm. We “meet” someone and interact with them sometimes all too briefly and, all of a sudden, it seems like we have a new best friend. We share information, invest emotion and build a friendship. But what we’ve really experienced is usually just the surface of that person; of their personality; of their values; of their honesty; of their beliefs and convictions. When they show their true self, we sometimes discover that we’ve invested unwisely and we get hurt; our confidence shattered. It’s vital to remember that it’s not our SELF-confidence that should be damaged or seen as such; it’s our confidence in the integrity of that other individual. It’s simply a lesson learned.

The second quote about associating with men of good quality is gender generic: associate with people of good quality. Why? Because no matter how secure you are in yourself and your self-image, how others perceive us does have an impact on our lives. Associative judgment does occur. If you surround yourself, as the example, with drug dealers, people will assume that you either are one or approve of their illegal practice. If all those you socialize with are commonly known as thieves, people will perceive you either as a thief or as benefiting from their illicit practice in some way. Conversely, if you often socialize and spend time with people who are considered warm-hearted, wise, empathetic, caring, motivated… people will tend to judge you as equal to that. After all… such people rarely waste time with people wasting their lives, right?

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