Social Question

mowens's avatar

Can you judge the caliber of a person based on who they call their friends?

Asked by mowens (8372points) April 20th, 2010

I heard someone say once that you can tell a lot about a person by their friends. If their friends are good people, in turn they are as well.

I have the best friends in the world. All of them. I don’t know what I did to deserve this… but they are better than me in every aspect. (Some of them are fellow jellies, guys, don’t let this go to your heads)

I don’t consider myself a great person. I am an ass, and self centered. But, to my friends, I am a different kind of ass. Everything is said lightly, lots of sarcasm, and a lot of jokes.

Can you judge a person by their friends?

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36 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Yes. “you are who you run with”.

Old saying thats still very true today.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think you can, yes.

ninjacolin's avatar

some people.

Jude's avatar

I think so, yes.

deni's avatar


Roby's avatar

absolutely…You are known by the company you keep.

phillis's avatar

Absolutely! To a certain extent, anyway. Hanging with Dems or Reps doesn’t make me one of them, but it makes me pissed off :) So many people smoke weed that some of them can be found in my circle of friends, though I am staunchly against street drugs of any kind. Some of my friends are gay to the point they are defensive to everyone. I am not gay, and reserve defensiveness for opening up a can of whoop ass if someone fucks with me. One of my bestest friends ever is way younger than me, but I ain’t looking any younger no matter how much we hang out. In all of them, their same redeeming qualities can be found in me.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

“Birds of a feather” and all that.


Vunessuh's avatar

Well, you can, but if you determine not to be friend’s with someone (whom you’d like to get to know better upon meeting them) solely based off of their friends, I personally think that’s pretty shitty. You should get to know that particular person first. There are plenty of reasons why a good person could hang out with a bad crowd and why a bad person could hang out with a good crowd, no matter how unlikely it seems.

Trillian's avatar

Based simply on my ex SO, I’d say yes. He could drag himself up out of the gutter if he wouldn’t insist on hanging with a bunch of low life drug addicts. As it is, their influence counteracts any positive effect that I had on him, as I was the only person he knew that is not into drugs. DMT notwithstanding.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes, absolutely but don’t let the straight jackets fool you as we are quite “normal” during the week.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. A group of longtime friends shows me something. A group of newer friends tells me something. It’s important to know in another person’s opinion who they deem their friends versus their acquaintances, some people don’t really know and that there tells me something too.

partyparty's avatar

Well it is said ‘show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are’. So I would say yes.

Buttonstc's avatar

Like attracts like.

CMaz's avatar

“If their friends are good people, in turn they are as well.”

I have had a few “friends” that hung with the crowd, but were bad eggs.

wonderingwhy's avatar

To an extent sure, but I’ve always found it more useful to judge a person by who they are rather than who their friends are.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I think you only really know the caliber of a person when they are breech-loaded into the circus cannon. And at that time, you’re both hoping it’s “within spec” for the barrel, or the cleanup will be messy.

mowens's avatar

haha homonym.

zophu's avatar

There are people who keep friends who have major problems because they see things in them that you can’t from the outside. Don’t judge too quickly.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes and no. I would consider the quality of a person’s friendships to be significant, but not necessarily with whom. A person can have a broad spectrum of friends. If I were going to judge the caliber of a person, which I do not, I would first have to judge the caliber of those friends, and on what would I base such a judgment? I don’t go around rating people on some scale of superiority and inferiority.

Rather, I would think that a person whose friendships are marked by loyalty, trust, caring, and comfortable comradeship would be a good person to know, regardless of the socioeconomic status, class, politics, culture, or occupation of those friends.

As for the person’s character, I would judge that on the basis of the person’s own actions and not on the actions of others.

CMaz's avatar

@Jeruba – seems to me to be a 45 caliber. :-)

RandomMrdan's avatar

Yeah, I think I heard it before like this.. “you’re only as good as the company you keep”.

netgrrl's avatar

Definitely. I used to tell my children, “You become your friends.”

CMaz's avatar

@netgrrl – I thought it was you are what you eat?

netgrrl's avatar

@ChazMaz In that case, I might actually be a pizza. Or chocolate. Maybe a chocolate pizza.

A friend of mine used to say, “If you keep going to a barbershop, sooner or later you’re gonna get a haircut.” I think it may have been an AA saying, not sure.

I’ve had to cut certain people out of my life because they were just so negative all the time. That sort of thing rubs off on you after awhile.

Jeruba's avatar

So you who judge a person by the company they keep would go along with the Pharisees who criticized Jesus for hanging out with publicans and sinners. Interesting.

@RandomMrdan, I think the saying you’re thinking of is this: “A man is known by the company he keeps.” And that is probably true. I think that has to do with reputation.

Recognizing what kind of associates a person has and inferring something about the person from that is very much like knowing a person’s reputation. I don’t think that is the same thing as taking the person’s measure—judging the person’s quality—by who his or her friends are. Reputations count for a lot, but they can also be wrong.

liminal's avatar

Not a measure of caliber, as Jeruba points out, but maybe more a reflection of one’s comfort zone.

evandad's avatar

Apparently not

mollypop51797's avatar

Sometimes. I have bad friends. Sometimes you can’t get rid of them. So people see me hanging out with that bad friend, and thing I’m the same. But I’m not if I think that that friend is the bad one. So am I the bad one or the good one? Is this belief true?

PacificToast's avatar

Most of the time. Sometimes there’s an exceptional case.

snowberry's avatar

And you can also sometimes judge the caliber of a person’s personality by who their enemies are. There are a few who I cheerfully call my enemy. It is a feather in my cap to do so.

PacificToast's avatar

@snowberry I proudly bestow upon you a thumbs up of the highest honor.

WolfFang's avatar

you can’t judge people like that, sometimes like @zophu said, its about a quality you see in a person that no one else can. You must really get to know a person first, and foremost as themselves, not their reputation, or their front. Many people have fronts and masks they hide behind thats not the true essence of them, so you must judge carefully and from a person to person perspective. People are complicated, it’ll take alot more than judging of ones friends to get to know someone

WolfFang's avatar

GA @liminal has a good point too.

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