The Rule of Five


“You are the average of the five people closest to you.”

you are the average of the 5 people closest to you

I have been thinking about this statement for several years now. The more I analyze it, the more it seems to ring true, even though I cannot prove it.  If it’s true, those closest to us have a tremendous influence in our total well being. They impact us:





How do you feel about the idea that you are the average of the five people closest to you?

  • Makes me think about what I’m doing to their averages! I’m pretty unconventional. I can certainly see where over the years, my wife has shaped my philosophies, theologies, attitudes (although she may not always be able to tell).

    • It’s true of my wife as well. Even though if asked she would say I’m my own person and I don’t listen to her, I know her influence has been huge in my life.

  • I would say it is pretty accurate. If you want to be a certain type of person, hang around those kinds of people. People that are gaining weight often hang around people who like to eat. People who are active are hanging with active types. I like what DBD just said… I hope I’m helping other people’s averages!

    • There’s something to they saying “birds of a father flock together.”

  • Another rule I heard is that your friends are a preview of the future you. Similar principle and raises the question of whether or not I’ve been purposed in choosing my friends or have I just let the relationships happen.

    • I believe that we all could benefit from being strategic about our relationships. I wrote about strategic friendships here:

      • I remember that. Think I commented on it too. 🙂

      • Carol Ann

        Sounds a bit cold to me…don’t know why…it just does. Perhaps it is a man’s perspective… women tend to connect with everyone around her. I don’t think of people in a “strategic” way…and don’t want to be thought of that way as well. Yep…a bit cold.

        • I can see how that can be interpreted as cold or calculated. But I also see it as intentional. Some friendships God sends our way and we are pleasantly surprised by then, but I also believe we need to find people we want to learn from as well as people we want to mentor. I have relationships on both sides of the equation and they each bless me in different ways.

  • Gary Hackney

    So that’s why!!!

  • I think you are dead on with this. It coincides perfectly with garbage in, garbage out.

    • It’s hard to grow in any area of your life when you’re at the “top” of every one. Most likely you’ll drop your performance because everyone around you is performing at a lower level, whether it be physically, spiritually and even financially.

      • Garth

        Yeah, but if one of those 5 is Christ you’ll never be top. Of course, that assumes that you are relating to him in a truly personal way. I mean, that is the point of discipleship – spend time with Christ so that you become like Him – Christ-like.

  • Cynthiakqb

    Hmmm…that’s deep.

  • Very true Maurilio, we need to choose our closest friends wisely. I’ve tried to define the closeness of the people around me in terms of the 4 circles…
    Love your writing and blog!!

    • Thank you so much, Chris. Great insight on your 4 circles. I really like that idea. If we put together my 5 people your 4 circles all we need is 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. 🙂

  • richard johnson


  • Wow. That’s a great thought. Just reading the first statement got the wheels turning. However, I feel like I have to ponder it for a while before coming to any conclusion. 

    • I have been pondering that for the past 4 years, Brandon. Let me know when you reach a verdict.

  • Maurilio, I respect your list…but I think that we are also influenced EMOTIONALLY as well…more than we realize.  DuongSheahan

  • Fabulous! My 5 closest friends, including my hubby and oldest daughter, are remarkable people who’s strengths really complement each other’s and mine. I only HOPE I can be the average of those 5!

  • It’s definitely true. The five closest people to me are not only my friends, but my spiritual family, which is sometimes closer than actual family. They never let me stay where I’m at and always want me to do greater things. Thrilled to be the average of five. 

  • 99

    That’s not true unless you let it be true.

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