Mexican Proverb

“Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres”

/DEE Meh  kon kyi en UHN das, e teh dee REH kyi en eh res/

Translation: Tell me who you hang around with and I’ll tell you who you are.

Interpretation: Your choice of friends or associates is sign of your character

Leslie told me she heard her mother say this all the time when she was growing up, though she does not recall the first time she noticed her saying it. Leslie’s family learned this proverb back when they were in Mexico, and though Leslie was born in America she still uses it just as much as they do, seeing as she was raised hearing it. Leslie explained to me that her mother always told her to carefully choose her friends because every choice you make in life, including whom you spend your time with, says something about who you are as a person. The proverb is meant to warn teens, and other age groups as well, to be careful not to be around bad company because not only will they influence you badly but you will receive their bad reputation as well.

Though I have never heard this expression before I have definitely been warned myself about the same principle. My mother and father have always warned me that the people who surround you are part of the impression you make on others. Perhaps it is not ideal, and it is sad to think that you are judged by other people’s behavior regardless of yours, but the truth is people tend to group together due to common interests and qualities and if a person’s friends are perceived to have negative qualities then that person is perceived to have them as well.

When researching for this proverb I came across the Mexican government’s database of Mexican sayings, proverbs, and riddles. However, the proverb is not written verbatim. On the site, what I found to be the closest proverb to the one that Leslie had told me about was “dime qué tomas, y te diré lo que eres”. The literal translation for this is “tell me what you take, and I’ll tell you who you are”. This is another spin off of the same principle that the choices you make in life reflect upon yourself. In this case I can’t really tell if by taking it means, shopping, eating, or even packing, but I do know that it all comes back to the impression you make on others through the actions you perform.

Annotation: This proverb is also seen documented in the Academia Mexciana de la Lengua, which is a Mexican government database of Mexican sayings, proverbs, and riddles. Academia Mexicana de la Lengua. Refrano Mexicano. 2 Dec. 2007.