Are You Really the “Average” of the Five People You Spend the Most Time With?

It’s probably because it’s still January and much of the “New Year—New You” marketing remains pervasive, but I keep seeing the quote by motivational speaker John Rohn: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  

As a stay-at-home mom, I can quickly count my first three: Wade and our two boys. Persons four and five are up for debate. 

It could be my mother. She’s awesome, by the way, so I love what she does for my “average.”

There’s also my minister—I see him for at least an hour every week.

Some weeks, I feel as though I’m BFF’s with the employees of the grocery store. Heaven knows I’m there far too often.

Rohn says it’s important for everyone’s List of Five to include diverse personalities in order to help shape a more balanced you. We all need an encourager and also someone who is honest, even when it isn’t easy. 

No one is more encouraging than a toddler. “You can do it, Mommy!” mine shouts as I try power through exercise in an effort to be health-conscious in 2019 (darn that marketing). There’s also no one more honest than that same toddler at nap time. While stocking up on snow essentials at Bill’s on the Hill (note: not our first grocery trip of the week), Wiley rubbed his sleepy eyes, “I just want to go home!… And a chicken box!” 

Me too, kid. 

I started to think of this average-persons idea differently and who’s list I would make. It hasn’t always been two young boys and a husband. There were fellow nurses in an emergency department, before that were sorority sisters at WKU, tennis partners in high school, and neighborhood friends from childhood. Many frigid winters, I think I could’ve laid claim to characters in a novel or the cast of some binge-worthy television series.  

 I wish I was on my grandmother’s List of Five, but reality is I see her far too little and she needs her nurses far too much. I’d like to spend more time with extended family, friends old and new, and just soak in more time with my “top three.”

I pray that our time with the Lord influences us to live holy lives. That we are more like Christ because we are with Him in church, at His feet in prayer, and aware of His dwelling within our hearts. I hope that this convicts us about our “average,” that we choose to spend our time with those Christ would have: the poor, sick, widowed, displaced, and orphaned. 

I don’t know John Rohn. I’m not sure if he is correct on his claim, but it is interesting. I do know this: even for the people we see far too infrequently or briefly meet while in line at the post office, I hope that the time we share is meaningful. That we are both encouraging and honest…gracious and kind…. 

That’s a good average.

**Photo by Stephen Hocking on Unsplash

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at