“A man is known by the company he keeps” — This proverb supplies the principle of judging a man’s character. We know man is a social being. It is a bare fact that we come into the world alone and pass out of it alone. Yet we have to depend on and come into contact with hundreds of persons in course of our living. Some of them become our intimate.
Usually, we see that like-minded men befriend one another. If anyone goes about with a drunkard, a theif, or a robber, he is likely to be the same. A rogue or a gambler likes the company of a rogue or a gambler. On the other hand, a sportsman who likes sports becomes intimate with another sportsman. Similarly, a scholar, a poet, an artist, a farmer, a scientist, and a politician have their own circle of association. There is another proverb in this regard which states the same thing: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
However, like all other proverbs, this one too has some exceptions. A person perfectly pure of heart and strong in character may associate with the wicked, and yet he remains good. Some others say that we should see both the good and bad sides of our life. It will help us in the struggle of life. But we should remember that we should not keep bad company at our tender age as we have no experience to tackle it. Once we have formed our character, there would be no harm in seeing the bad sides of the world. However, this proverb may be regarded as an indirect warning against bad company, especially at our tender age.