How to Deal With Friends Who Are Bad Influences: What I Wish I Knew as a Teenager
Most people are easily impressionable, especially teenagers. Individuals can be convinced to do a lot of things even when they do not really want to.
Eve was in the garden and not worried about the forbidden fruit until the tempter came along to convince her otherwise.
You have to be strong-willed and confident to say no to bad influences and people who will stir you in the wrong direction.
In life, there will always be people who will try to sway you to do something you may not feel comfortable with. It takes practice to say no and to actually stand firm in that no. You cannot care about what other people think.
Most of the time, your friends are trying to convince you to do something because they do not want to go through it alone.
You have to care about yourself and your future more. People will get you in trouble and will not vouch for you when the consequences are laid out.
Consequences can impact your life and change its trajectory.
You will have no one to blame but yourself.
To this very day, we are living out the repercussions of Adam and Eve's mistake because they were influenced to do something they were not supposed to do.
1. Maybe and I'll Think About it Are the Same as Yes
It lets the other person know that with a little more convincing, you will say yes.
Obviously, your friend, whether a bad influence or not became your friend for a reason. You do not need to be rude to them but you do need to be firm and direct.
You have to say no strongly and directly otherwise people will keep pushing. Once you get in the habit of practicing this, people will know not to ask you about certain things because they already know you will say no.
If a person constantly says yes, that lets other people know they are easily influenced and will always say yes even if they really do not want to. This makes you an easy target to be taken advantage of.
I personally hate that uncomfortable feeling when I tell people no or establish my boundaries. It is okay to be uncomfortable for a few minutes rather than suffer greatly for a lifetime.
2. Stop People-Pleasing
If you are worried that the other person will be mad at you, then you are guaranteed to be mad at yourself later on.
Stop compromising yourself to please other people. The only thing you have to worry about is pleasing God and being your authentic self God made you to be.
I grew up in an environment that fostered my people-pleasing tendencies because if I said no it usually followed some type of punishment.
It was hard to stand up to people and tell them what I really thought because I was afraid of upsetting them and this spilled over into my adult life.
If you do not get a handle on deterring bad influences in your life now, it will become harder later on. This is one of the main aspects I continue to struggle with.
A few weeks ago at a restaurant, my soda was flat and it tasted disgusting. The waiter brought me another one and asked me to taste it to make sure it was good. I tasted it and it was still flat.
I lied to his face and said it was fine.
Why in the world would I do that? Because I am a people-pleaser and would rather sacrifice my own comfort to appease others.
God does not call us to be timid in any aspect of our life. We have power to a certain extent to control what happens to us in life but we often give up that power to others who do not have our best interest.
3. Everything That Shimmers Ain't Gold
Your friends may try to convince you to do something very appealing but in your gut you know it is not right.
Fleeting pleasures in life are not worth it in the long run. Things will eventually catch up to you even if there is no immediate consequence.
Your life right now is the totality of your past decisions. A different decision leads to a different path.
Eve knew full and well that God said not to even touch the forbidden fruit. Satan somehow made it look so much more desirable than what it really was.
Sometimes we have in our mind how good something will be and once we do it, we become disappointed and regret it.
Do not let someone rush you or force you to do anything that you know is not right.
As believers, we also have the Holy Spirit to be our guide and provide us with discernment.
You are not missing out on anything if you say no.
That is also the deception of Satan is to make you feel like you are somehow missing out on something that you should not be missing out on.
Do not let him mislead you.
God will give you everything you need at the right time.
All you have to do is wait on Him and trust Him.
If it comes to the point where you have to completely stop hanging out with people who have a negative influence on your life then so be it.
You have to pay attention to the red flags when they first appear.
People will give you signs of who they truly are but it is up to you to take action.
The people in your life who sway you to do things that are not for your betterment are not your actual friends.
Friends care about your well-being. It is okay to distance yourself if you know certain individuals will most likely get you in trouble.