Ever heard of the saying, tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are? To what extent do you believe this is true? We’re about to find out.
To answer that, we need to know how friends influence our identities.
Friends can influence your identity in a lot of ways. They can alter your decision making process, they can influence your spending habits, they can influence your life goals and ambitions, and so much more.
Before I dive more into the influence of friends on you, there’s a question that needs to be answered.
Why are we influenced by friends?
One of the main reasons why our lives are dependent on the people that we meet and become friends with is the fact that we seek acceptance from others on a regular basis.
We usually want to impress our friends so that we get accepted among them. The way we usually do that is by doing what they expect us to do.
This is the main cause that I can think of when it comes to the huge influence our friends have on our lives.
With that said, how do friends influence us?
How do friends influence you?
1- They set your goals and ambitions.
Our goals and ambitions are influenced by people. Especially the ones who are very close to us.
Take these 2 work related scenarios as an example.
If your circle is full of friends who only care about getting a job and nothing else, then you’ll be hearing a lot of conversations about how a job can be your ultimate savior and you should seek one as soon as possible.
When you listen to the same idea repeatedly, there is a chance that you really settle for it. If your friends keep telling you how much they enjoy their job, and how you too should look for one instead of starting your own business for example, you may go for that option.
Whether they are right or not, there is no denial that they are influencing your goals and ambitions in life.
The other scenario would be that you are surrounded with entrepreneurs who only care about building their own businesses and making it big.
Again, they will definitely influence your career goals and what you want to do in the future.
When I went to university, all of what I cared about was to get a degree and then get a job somewhere.
That goal of mine changed when I met one of my instructors who later became a friend. He completely changed my goals from wanting to get a job as soon as I graduate to wanting to start my own company.
How is it going so far for me now? Not very well and I might end up going for my initial plan, but I still have hopes for the future.
What I am trying to say here is that your friends can play a huge part in your decisions of what you want to be in the future. Whether their influence was good or not is another thing.
2- Your friends can influence your spending habits.
Not everyone can afford things. Saving some money for the future is always a great idea, but in order to do that, you’ll need to have some control over your spending habits.
If your friends are the type of people who want to have fun by buying things, going to expensive places, and so on, then you’ll have to spend a lot of money when you’re around them.
So if you’re on a budget and you have more important things to spend money on, you need to be careful about who you go out with.
3- Your attitude towards people can be influenced by your friends
I bet you have heard your parents tell you to stay away from bad friends at least once. They were right if they did.
No matter how strong you think your personality is, you will still be affected by the way your close friends talk and act.
With time, you’ll use words that your friends use, you’ll use gestures that your friends use and so on.
The reason why we do that is because we want to feel accepted among our friends, and there is no better way to feel accepted than acting the same way they do.
4- Your friends can help you during your hard times.
Are you going through a period of depression? Call your friend and talk about it. Express your feelings to them.
If you have one close friend that you can go to whenever you feel depressed, then they can help you more than you think they can.
With that said, it’s important to pick the right people as your friends since these people’s influence on your life will be huge.
How should you pick your friends?
A very simple answer would be that you need to shape your identity first. Decide what you want to be in life, and then pick the friends that can help you preserve that identity and help you grow.
If you believe that a group of friends are negatively affecting your identity and your lifestyle, then you need to consider spending less time with them.
Let’s talk a little bit about online friends here before we wrap up. You always need to be extra careful with online friends as they can be a huge trouble.
If you’re having too many friends online, then you could end up sitting all day on your phone doing nothing other than waiting for your online friends to contact you.
There are other concerns when it comes to online friends too, including fake identities. I’ll leave these concerns for another article.
Does this mean that you need to stay away from online friends? I don’t think so. I once met a friend online in a video game, and we’ve been friends for more than 7 years.
I also met other friends online who turned some periods of my life to a disaster.
So I advise you that you always be careful about who you talk to.
Your friends do have a huge influence on your life in many aspects, and you need to pick your circle wisely or else your life might shift in ways that you don’t like.