For some time, the decisions that I made used to be influenced a lot by the friends that I kept around. I rarely ever stopped to think twice about it since I thought it was nice to keep our friendship. I thought I was supporting them or reciprocating their support. I have gotten in trouble for following a group decision more than once. Of course, there is always a gut feeling telling you that you should not do something, but you override that with the opinion of your friends.
In high school, I skived a few classes, and I had the courage to do it because my friends were in on it. I always thought that it was better to be caught and punished as a group rather than when alone. There were also decisions to purchase or own things. I must admit that in primary school I always succumbed to pressure to have new shoes every year. There was some peer pressure to have a change of shoes. I was not ready to let my friends down.
In high school, I was expelled from school for the simple reason that I was friends with a student who was suspected of belonging to a cult. I bet this was the only good decision I ever made concerning my friendships. All I had to do was to not deny our friendship, and by that, I earned a ticket to be a suspect for the same circumstance that he was.
Most of the time when we go out to parties, it is always under the influence of friends. In society, it is common for friends to get together and compare their social status in life. Even after people get to live in different geographical locations, they still want to keep tabs with their friends.
It is always common for people to admit that they did something just because they were with friends. Most of us do not really know ourselves minus the influence of our friends. It is good to have friends, but it is a loss to only be able to identify yourself with a group and not necessarily alone. The older we get, the further we get from some of our friendships. In most cases, it is usually because we encounter change.
The more you find yourself or realize yourself, the further you grow away from friends and their influence too. Most groups do not go along well if everybody has a mind of their own. When friends come together it is always like they are forming one person, but this one person has several heads. Of course, each head will want to be heard. There must be one of them who will always want to be in control.
When each one of them realizes their power, they would not want to be led. Each will know that they are more advantaged when making decisions that they are fully invested in. There is always something that friends have in common. If they all begin to awaken to their individual power, then the friendship is shaken to its core. This is the common scenario for friendships. There are rare cases where people get their awakening from old friendships. This could be from the lessons that they learn from these friendships.
Some people get in trouble for the decisions made by friends. This can continue happening until they begin to realize that they should leave the group. I do not know what scale of measurement people use to conclude that their friendship is beneficial. However, there are always opportunities for one to gauge the benefits of their friendships. There is always some break that people get to spend time away from friends. From the experience that one gets alone, then they can measure whether their friendships are beneficial or not. For instance, there are those school holiday breaks and vacations.
It is usually when you are alone that you get alternative thoughts or ways to make decisions. For this case, the influence is usually minimal. You get to ponder on things for a long time and understand the consequences. I hope that sometimes we get to have time alone from the friendships that we have. Of course, it is good to consult when making decisions but understanding that one has free will to make their decision is profound.
When one is alone, they begin to understand themselves more than when they are in the company of others. So, as much as friendships are important, you should be able to identify or describe yourself minus the influence of the group. However big or small the group is, whatever achievements the group has, it is important to know your potential, individually.
We all have individual gifts that when given more attention, will grow immensely. Only then do we realize that we can do our own things in our own way without depending on others. This dependency is what people confuse with the strength of the group. If you depend on somebody to survive, then it becomes dangerous for the individual. They will always live in fear, hoping that their source of dependency(strength) does not collapse. They will think that if they lose the friendships, then they become powerless.
But the truth is that, individually, we can achieve so much, even more than what we do in groups. Pulling yourself away from the group to focus on your own thing, gives you ample time and space to grow your skills, and realize that you are your own source of strength. You do not need an external source to be your support system. I prefer to make friends after I have fully known myself because then I will be sure that those friendships will be supporting my growth. I will also know that I can help the other person to grow, or I will know that I have something to teach them.
Friendships could always collapse or end at any time, so the question is, where will that leave you? Will you be able to stand alone? Will you be able to define yourself without the influence of the group, or friendship? Will you still have the strength, or the sense of direction, for your own personal growth? Namaste.