Your friends can change and influence your life in many different ways, sometimes wonderful, sometimes… maybe not so much. But either way, as we spend time with friends, we begin to adopt their behaviors, turns of phrase, and they adopt ours. So, we’ve compiled a list of ways you influence your friends and how, in turn, you can improve your impact on them in the warmest and most caring of ways.
1. “Partner in crime”
A friend can often be our “partner-in-crime”, someone we can rely on to encourage us in our endeavors. But, in some situations, it’s good to take a step back, and be a little critical of the decisions you make together.
For example, sometimes it’s extremely hard to get out of the house, even just to get dinner. We can’t begin to recall all the conversations we’ve had with friends debating whether or not we should order delivery and, most often, the answer is “yes!”. Encouraging indulgences now and again is totally fine, of course, but when you notice that it’s the third timSele this month your friend has suggested this option, and they just told you they are living on a tight budget, you could take the opportunity to suggest an alternative (like cooking a meal together), rather than encourage behavior that might be a tad self-destructive.
In a Huffington Post article about ways your friends influence you, they bring up a point about bonding with friends over resisting temptation and moving further away from those who encourage your indulgences. There is a validity to this point, but temptation is inescapable now and again, and it feels a lot better when there is a balance of support in your friendships.
2. Relationship Advice
While your friends may be the first people you go to for advice on your relationship, sex life, etc., it’s important to understand that they only know what you tell them. When it comes to relationship issues, it’s advisable to take friends’ advice into consideration when evaluating your feelings on the situation. But it’s important to make sure that, when you’re making decisions regarding a romantic partner, your reasoning is yours. Otherwise, this could lead to your blaming friends for giving advice that you asked for, which isn’t fair to them.
When it comes to self-esteem, your friends can influence you in many different aspects. One way might be in the way they talk about themselves. For example, take the classic scene from Mean Girls, where the “plastics” friend group discusses the different things they would want to change about their physical appearances, and then they all look at Cady expectantly. If your friends are badmouthing themselves, it can put pressure on you to either a) compliment them, leading them to expect compliments from you whenever they fish for them, or b) badmouth yourself, which can be extremely detrimental to your own confidence.
Your friends can also influence your self-esteem through encouraging you to make clothing/makeup purchases you’re on the fence about. We’ve all had the experience of indecisiveness when it comes to buying that dress that you know makes you look good, but you don’t know when you’ll wear it. While some might see this as your friends encouraging you to make unreasonable purchases (which, in some cases, sure), it’s better to own things that make you feel good about yourself which, in turn, gives your self-confidence a boost
Your friendships have a big impact on your mental health but, surprisingly, they can also have an impact on your physical health as well. In a Bustle article on different ways your friends affect your life, they mention that older adults with fewer close friends have weaker hearts, and those who have more conflicts with friends can have higher blood pressure.
Your friends might be indirectly affecting your health is through their eating habits. Spending time with friends who engage in unhealthy diets can be detrimental, and can make you feel guilty for eating differently.
Overall, your friends influence and change your life in many different ways, some more subtle than others. Understanding the influences your friends have on you, as well as the influence you have on them, is important for creating healthier friendships and longer-lasting bonds.