Lessons in Friends

LW is a retired 74-year-old woman who lives with her husband in Sunnyside, WA. She was born and raised there and came from an immigrant mother and father who came from Guadalajara, Mexico. She never went to college but became a mother to three children and a grandmother to several grandchildren. She was remarried twice and worked two minimum wage jobs to support her family. Her primary language is Spanish but her English is perfect as well.

Are there any saying you have learned that you have passed down or that were passed to you?

LW: My mother used to be big on the fact that my friends were a direct reflection of me and that they would tell her a lot about the kind of person I was so she used to always say to me in Spanish, ‘Dime con quien andas y te digo quien eres’. That saying basically means, show me who your friends are and that will show me who you are.

Do you think she learned it from anywhere or did she invent that saying herself?

LW: I am not sure if she got it from anywhere but I also don’t think she came up with it all by herself. I mean, the philosophy behind it was something she may have come up with on her own in order to teach me a lesson about making friends with trouble-makers. I have passed it on to my own children in order to teach them the same lesson my mom taught me, because it really is true that the friends you pick are a direct reflection of who you are and how other people will perceive you.


It is common to pass on saying from family member to family member that teach a lesson. The particular lesson of this saying was very important to the heritage of this family and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Although the lesson is widely known, the direct saying may not be. This piece of folklore could easily die out if it is not passed on from the previous generation, but the lesson is the one thing that will live on.