As social creatures, we unconsciously imitate the people around us.

Groups of friends start dressing the same. Kids develop the same mannerisms as their parents. Spend ten minutes talking to someone with a strong accent and you’ll pick up a twang. If all your friends are starting YouTube channels, guess what your next move will be.

We are giant sponges who soak up the qualities, habits and practices of our associates. This isn’t anecdotal, it’s been proven in studies and here are the three I think about the most:

Imagine there are two brothers and one of them is rich and tall. The other brother is more likely to be rich than he is to be tall. The influence of the people around us outweighs even genetics.

When you were age eleven or twelve, the higher the IQ of your best friend, the higher your IQ would be at age fifteen, even after controlling for natural levels of intelligence. Our friends can make us smarter.

Scientists have been able to accurately guess the personality and disposition of one chimpanzee before even meeting it, by studying the behaviour of the five chimps it hangs out with the most. We become who we spend time with.