In today's New York Times, a front page story — "Find Yourself Packing It On? Blame Friends" — suggests that obesity might be a social disease. Data shows we are likelier to become obese if our friends are obese.
That seems true of most everything. If you live with readers, you are more likely to read. If you run with blood donors, you are more likely to donate blood. If your friends go to college, off you go. If your friends are in Weight Watchers, you're likely to lose weight.
On the other hand, if your friends are miserable and angry, won't you become the same?
Perhaps all life is a social disease. Never be surprised if you turn out like your friends. When choosing how to live, pick your friends carefully. Pick friends that lift you, not the ones that bring you down.
Most of my friends live in Columbus. Go figure: so do I.