There's a saying that goes 'Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who You are'.
I totally go by that saying. I truly believe that the group of friends you mingle with, or whom you choose as your friends, has a major affect on you. Your friends have a tremendous influence on you, which is why parents these days seem so concerned about who their children play with, and who they hang out with.
The reason why I bring this up is because years ago, and I mean literally, years ago, I went out with a guy who seemed like a nice boy. We only went out once, so I didn't know him that well, other than the information I was provided with by the Shadchan and his references, which were of course, all amazing and outstanding accolades. The only concern I had at that time, was his friends. Everything about him was good and seemed to be what I was looking for, but when he mentioned some friends he had who lived in my city, I got a little freaked out. Honestly, I was young and naive, but I did know those boys and they definitely did not have a good reputation at all. In fact, they were bad news. I remember coming home from the date feeling 1/2 comfortable. On one hand, I had nothing bad to say about him, he was nice looking, charming, friendly, had a good job, seemed polite, etc. But on the other hand, he was REALLY good friends with these boys who were REALLY not good people. I didn't want to associate myself with these people and I knew if things were to progress, I would be going out/marrying someone who was friends with them and this was a chance I wasn't willing to take They had a terrible influence on many other boys and who knew what would be. I came home and after much hesitancy, told the Shadchan thanks but no thanks.
A few months later, a girl I know married one of these boys. I was invited to the wedding and I went for the dancing, when this guy walks by my friends and I. He stops an says 'well hello there SOS'. I was floored. It was the guy I dated (note to self: DUH! of course he's at the wedding-they are good friends!), and I was surprised that (a) he called me by my name (b) he stopped to say hi (we were over and done with MONTHS ago) (c) infront of all my friends and everyone in the hall. I was mortified for a number of reasons, but mostly because my friends were looking at him and asking who had the chutzpah to stop and purposely talk to me, and how would I know anyone who was friends with the chosson & co (part of that not-so-good group of guys). I forgot about this whole story until recently.
This boy married a friend of a friend of mine (I know, long story, Jewish geography, etc.) not long after that wedding. Recently, the mutual friend called to tell me they got divorced. I can't say I was shocked. I've heard not such good things about him. I've even seen some not such nice things. Don't get me wrong, I feel terrible for his wife and family, but I sort of have a sense of good feeling that even back then, all those years back, I said no. He still hangs out with those boys, they are still up to no good, hanging out with the wrong people, in the wrong places.
Just goes to show.....