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Dear Poll: Can Friends Be Bad Influences?

Since I know that peer pressure was supposed to end with high school graduation, it continues to amaze me how much people’s friends can influence them. In fact, sometimes it seems like we’re all just products of the people we’re around. Yes, I’m sure it’s true that we’re drawn to those with similar interests, but isn’t it also true that friends can change our perspective on things, sometimes for the worse? Regardless of age, can friends still be bad influences?


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DCStar DCStar 9 years
Absolutely friends can be bad influences. When I've helped people overcome drug dependency one of the first and most important steps is to have them cut out those friends in their lives who are involved in that lifestyle. Sometimes, the friends will try to overcome addictions together, but often they see no problem with what they're doing and only can hurt and re-influence the rehabber.
pinkbubbles pinkbubbles 9 years
i think that it all depends on if you have a strong personality or not. some people just don't really know what they want and just go along with others.
LeChatonNoir LeChatonNoir 9 years
Anyone in your life can be a bad influence, and the closer to them you are, the harder it may be to realize their negative impact in your life. Just remember who you are, and what kind of life you want to lead, and if anyone disrespects those ideas on a regular basis, you need to assess whether that person deserves your company.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Unfortunately most people are too unsure of themselves and afraid to make their own choices now-a-days. It's so much easier to do what everyone else is doing instead of doing your own thing and looking like the odd man out. It's ridiculous. People really need to work on their self esteem and learn who they are so they can say no to peer pressure.
BeautyXRush BeautyXRush 9 years
Anyone can be bad influences, you just have to know what you want in life, and not let people influence you to do anything you don't want to, otherwise you'll just get pushed around.
emalove emalove 9 years
Maybe when I was in high school to a small extent. But even then, I've always pretty much done what I wanted to do. And I didn't surround myself with friends that made a lot of bad decisions, so this wasn't ever an issue with me. I think it all depends on your personality type...some people are just VERY easily influenced by others. Usually people who have low self-esteem and are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. And I do think it usually happens at a younger age. As you get older, you naturally become more independent and free-thinking. I'm 31 years old and have had the same group of best friends since kindergarten. We are all very, very different people and make our own decisions. If anything, we influence and inspire each other in a very positive manner.
loveritz loveritz 9 years
I think that friends can be a bad influence on you even as an adult, but only if you let them. It's your responsibility as an adult to control your own actions, and to know which friends are good for you and which friends are toxic.
Kalle11 Kalle11 9 years
I am very independent and always try to stick to my guns. However I've had friends who have brought out the worst of me, emphasis on the past tense!
Tullia Tullia 9 years
In my middle school years, peer pressure got the best of me and I did alotta stupid things...I know I should have had my own will, but I was too cowardly to do so. But, with that experience I know not to be badly influenced by other people now.
Meike Meike 9 years
Not for me, I've always been my own person from birth. I'm that nerd girl who hung out more by herself in the library than in the lunch room socializing with friends. Even now, I have a few select friends and never caved in to any sort of peer pressure.
lilwildone1202 lilwildone1202 9 years
i have been told i'm a bad influence bc i'm pretty ballsy and usually like to be the bold one in the group so people naturally follow me. not to say i always make the best decisions but
thorswitch thorswitch 9 years
Of course they can still be bad influences - but, especially as adults, we have a great deal of control over what influences we choose to incorporate into who we are. Think about a typical office - there are generally a number of rules about how work is supposed to be done, as well as a certain amount of pressure to get it done within a given timeframe. It's not at all uncommon for workers to quickly figure out ways to cut corners to do things faster and so that the end results look good, but they broke a number of rules to do it. Imagine you're new to the job, and you, as an ethical person, want to do the job the way its supposed to be done, but the other keep trying cutting the corners and tease you about doing everything the right way, giving you those knowing winks and smiles that way "yeah, you go ahead and be ms perfect, you'll be doing it this way soon enough!" That's the same kind of peer pressure that kids get in high school, and I've seen it in every job I've ever held. You have to decide if you're just going to go along with the pack or if you're going to stick to your guns, and do the work properly, even though you know they'll keep giving you a hard time about it. I remember a few years ago, there was a woman here in town who's daughter wanted to go to a party at her friend's house. The mother didn't want her to go, however, because she knew that the friend's mother let her daughter - and any of her friends that were around - drink, even though all the girls were underage. The daughter was furious, but the mom held firm, until the friend's mother called her up, complaining that the mother was "ruining" all the fun by not letting her girl go to the party. The mother relented and let her daughter go. (Sadly, the story only made the news because the daughter was hit by a car the kids were driving around a field behind the friend's home.) While the friend's mother was using peer pressure to get the mother to let her daughter go, the mother made her own choice and has to live with that. Similarly, there have been stories of how parents have gotten together to rent a bus to take their kids to prom, and then purchased a keg to be put on the bus so the kids could drink on the way there. When some of those parents were later interviewed (this story made the news because the parents were arrested for contributing to delinquency and serving alcohol to minors,) they admitted they would never have given their own kids alcohol, but when one kid got his parents to agree, the other kids kept bugging their own parents and the kids parents started calling around to put pressure on them as well, until all the parents in this group of friends had relented and contributed to the booze and the bus. Our friends - and their opinion, which we must value to a certain extent, or why else would they be our friends, eh? - influence us in a lot of ways. Asking us to be diet buddies, telling us about their favourite political candidates, the whole idea of "keeping up with the Jonses" and so forth, all forms of peer pressure. It'd be nice to think that after a certain age, we become immune, but we don't.
nancita nancita 9 years
I have certain friends who are a bad influence on me and vice versa. We are just always stirring up trouble together and have to be careful not to!
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
My best friend has had a HUGE influence on me. She likes to say she's "corrupted me" which I agree on.. but it's for the better, because without her I'd still probably be really shy/introverted and I'm much happier with where I'm at now.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I think everyone at some point can have some friends that are very influential on them but I also believe the older you get the more strong minded and independent you become as well. (at least I hope so) I think friends can still influence the best of us but at least for me at this age (25) I'm pretty independent on my choices in life...
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Peer pressure is a bunch of BS. I never got why people did not have the balls to stand up for themselves. I have been out of HS for a long time (20 year reunion this summer) and the friends that I have would not be my friends if I did not have my own opinions and beliefs.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
"Bad company spoils good character" I do think that for some people it's harder to not be influenced when you're young. But I do know of grown adults who are influenced by their friends still.
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
Asia, I was the same way. That's why I had only a few close friends while all others thought I was "weird". Pathetic. I'm happy I didn't let it get to me.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
even in high school, i wasn't influenced by friends. i was always considered "odd" because i never dressed, or listened to the same music as others.i always did my own thing, and i knew my limits and values, and stuck to them. you just look like an idiot when you do what others do due to "peer pressure".
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
Yes, of course. But when a certain age is reached one should be able to think on their own and have the smarts to be surrounded by those who support them and are a positive addition in life. There are those people who are constant followers though.. They're just doomed.
iRose iRose 9 years
Well I dont hang around people who are negative influences. I have the type of friends that if they saw me with a cigarette in my mouth they would probably knock it out and ask me if I dont like my lungs and ask me why am I trying to kill myself :p . However when you're an adult you need to think for yourself and to not let others influence you. Some people are so easily led that and want so desperately to fit in that they sometimes go the extreme and let their friends dictate every aspect of their lives.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
ummm . . .I'm an adult. I have my OWN mind.
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
Haha, I don't know how many times that I've been told that I am the one who is the bad influence...oops.
Marci Marci 9 years
Maybe at times; at certain ages. I was always pretty strong minded and couldn't be talked into much I didn't want to do. But there were a few times.......:)
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