I recently read my first Success Magazine in a very long time. I remember reading the periodical when I was younger, but it is not the kind of magazine you see in your local convenience store.

I enjoyed this months magazine, filled with a range of personal articles. The Friend Virus caught my attention:

Your friends’ behaviour is contagious. Everything including obesity, divorce, smoking and apparently sweater-wearing spreads like a virus. An ongoing, multi-decade research project proves the extent that our friends’ behaviour affects our own. The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 with people in Framingham, Mass. To date, the data collected on some 12,000 participants has yielded some startling results. Check this out:

· If someone you name as a friend gets divorced, you are 147 percent more likely to get divorced than if you didn’t have a friend who got divorced.

· If a friend becomes obese, the likelihood that you will follow suit increases by 171 percent.

Reflecting on the phenomenon, it makes sense. I would expand it to the work place. Spend time with someone that is positive, driving hard for results, works well with others and you are bound to see it rub off. Spend time with someone who gripes, complains and is pessimistic and the same will happen.

I have had it happen to me. It seeps in slowly, spreading and spreading until you are changed. I have also seen those people ruin teams, their demeanour slowly eating away, transforming the group.

The key is to catch it before it is too late.