Proverb – Peruvian

“Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”

“It tell me with who you walk and you tell that you are”

“Tell me who you go with and I’ll tell you who you are”

Laura recalls her parents telling her this proverb when she was a young girl. Her family held education up on a very high pedestal, where all five children were to attend school to at least the university level. Thus, Laura family perceived if one held good company through the association of smart friends that liked to study and avoid trouble. They were seen as good people. On the other hand, if even one person in a group of friends was considered rebellious or bad, then there was a fear that everyone would become like her. They would say

“La manzana podria pudre a la de mas.”

“One rotten apple makes the other ones rotten.”

The idea is that one person can influence the group negatively had a profound affect on Laura. She too raised her children, using the same proverb. It was important to her because “people tend to stereotype other people very quickly. One bad person in the group can ill-represent the group. Then everyone’s perceived negatively.” The proverb means that friends and companions should be chosen wisely for they can reflect on oneself by association. I agree with Laura’s analysis of this proverb for those you associate with greatly influence ones life, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The overall moral is to pick ones friends wisely.


In 2002 Tony Cantu wrote “My way of talking: Life lessons in Mexican-American proverbs”, located in The World and I Vol 17(9) on page 182.  It can also be found in the USC Research Library Core database, document ID: 187559831, or by the following link. (

The article described a similar parental reaction towards certain friendships through their favorite refrain: Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres (Tell me who you’re with and I’ll tell you what you are). I find it fascinating that two different Latin countries use the same proverb. It may have originally derived in Spain and diverged during colonization periods. It also may have been recently spread as globalization is homogenizing different cultures (homogenization can be applied to non-western countries).