In my reading I came across this paragraph about choosing acquaintances; now this is not to be confused with choosing friends, the considerations for a close friend are much more discriminating.
“In choosing our acquaintances, we must display a certain selfishness; they must be persons from whom we can gain something; persons who will help us to make our lives better and brighter, though in a less degree than our friends and intimates can do. For example, if Mr. A. and B. and C. can do nothing for us, cannot say a wise thing or a witty, cannot suggest a good thought or do a good action, cannot strengthen or move us by their sympathy, cannot share in our wholesome pleasures, cannot keep ever before us the idea of duty, for Heaven’s sake let us have none of them!”
Shall we make acquaintances of idiotic young men who ape follies and vices of their social superiors, who mimic the inanities of the “crutch-and-toothpick” class, who buy the photographs of loose women exposed in shop-windows, who noisily applaud the coarse and stupid ditties roared out by “the lions “of the music halls, who infest the streets with their silly laughter and rank tobacco-smoke; a stranger to all innocent pleasures, to all wholesome enjoyments.
For him the poets have never sung, for him the great men have never lived. Not for him have heroes done those deeds, or great writers put on record those thoughts, which have nerved the hearts of nations. Not for him is the glory in the grass or the splendor in the flower, the beauty of God’s heavens, the music of murmuring streams, the mystery and majesty of the ocean Not for him is the joy of honest endeavor or the rapture of the strife. Not for him the happiness of a pure love or the confidence of a tender heart. A conscience seared by incessant self-indulgence, a mind degraded and debased by the lowest associations and coarsest motives – who will not pity this poor fool who stumbles on in the blackness and darkness of certain ruin?” W.H.Davenport Adams
Now of course this was written in the 1800s, and the list of negative influences is much longer today.
It does not imply that we are to seperate ourselves from those that need our influence, but rather a warning to young men and women in school and all through life, to carefully consider who we run with.