The company we keep / by Evan La Ruffa

Of all the ways to gauge community, one of the better ways has to be looking around and taking stock of the individuals around us. Communities are made up of people, and after all, shared values seem to dictate groupings now more than ever. When we evaluate everything from a politician's associations to our own social groups, we can figure out where we stand by honestly assessing the crew we've assembled.

To that point, we can use the following questions to figure out if we're where we should be...

Is there a disconnect between what this group values and what I'm trying to be in the world?

If I needed help, would anyone in this group be there for me?

And perhaps most importantly, can I confidently and proudly tell people who are not part of this group that I'm associated with it?

Whether or not we can speak up, wear our values on our sleeve, or compassionately pass those ideas on to others, is a good indication as to whether or not the company we keep is company worth keeping.