Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Influence of Association: Part Two

I love telling myself that I am my own person. I am able to make decisions in my life that are not affected by the social pressures of my friends—I believe that to a large degree. I do have a great resilience to social peer pressure. But it’s only a resistance, my will is not impenetrable. If exposed to enough pressure to, say, eat a doughnut when I’m on a diet, I might just give in and justify that one doughnut won’t really make a difference in my overall month-long diet plan, or that I can work the calories off later that day by working out extra hard. The point is that exposing yourself to negative peer-pressure can invite arguments between friends, can be energy draining, and can be a slow destructive catalyst to your ideal lifestyle dream.

                Much of the time, your friends aren’t out there to get you and pull you down, as in the case of my diet example. What if this diet really meant a lot to me. Let’s say that my self-confidence and self-mastery was connected to the success of this diet. Then my friends come along and start tempting me to have a doughnut, and started teasing me about my diet. Perhaps I wouldn’t straight up tell them the extent of what this diet means to me for fear of being teased even more. So you receive consistent pressure about this doughnut until you justify it off. Your friends had no ill motive, just a friendly one, but the damage is done to you either way.
Cue doughnut explosion! There were too many cute doughnut pictures. I couldn’t choose.

As a rule, I only eat doughnuts with faces on them.
I never knew...
This can happen with morals, religion, aspirations, and other important topics. You may hold writing to be a huge priority, but if the only friends you have are friends that eat, drink, and play soccer. How much writing do you think you’ll be getting done when your friends are constantly begging you to come play soccer with them. One of two things will happen.

1)      You’ll go play soccer with them.
2)      You won’t, and slowly, they’ll stop asking you and go find someone else to play soccer with. They’ll find other friends, and so will you.
Which might be OK if your buddies are on the team from Shaolin Soccer. They’d give you a lot to write about.

Next segment of this topic will be available tomorrow.

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