This topic is about how friends change your behavior, how much influence your friends have on you, and so on.
My mom always likes to tell me that I am very influential, and she backs up1 her statement by saying „When you were three years old, we were walking home from kindergarten, and you told me you couldn’t wear that beautiful dress I bought you because Deniska said it wasn’t stylish.” Let’s leave out the fact that I did not have a friend called Deniska in my kindergarten.
When you get out of your family nest2 and spend half your day with a group of kids, you are surrounded by people with different traditions, opinions and worldviews. This is supposed to help you make up your own mind by receiving different opinions and so on. I believe that you should disagree with your parents’ opinions, since you are part of a new generation and that you should have different points of view from your friends, since you are not their clone. It is natural that your friends who are older or have more leader-like qualities should have a greater influence on you than your quieter, younger companions.
What is influence, you ask?
It’s when you start to learn and obtain some ideas from others. Sometimes, when somebody can influence you, it means that you are more likely to do the things he/she asks you to do or suggests that you do. When does it have a limit?
It stops when you do things you know aren’t right, but your friend told you to do it, so you do it. An example would be when you are with your friends and somebody lights up a joint or opens a bottle of vodka. As the illegal item comes closer to you, your older, more experienced friend tells you that you should have a go at it too; it’s very good and will not get you in any trouble. Against your better judgment, you give in.
That is a no-no.
Do you have any influence over your friends?
Do you misuse this power? Does anybody influence you?
If you realize that you can influence one of our friends, do you misuse that power? Or do you help your friend?
When you have influence over somebody, they are more likely to listen to you and do as you say. They trust you and they think or know that you want only the best for them. And that’s the way it should be. They’re your friends; you should want only the best for them.
The other, darker reason for you to influence your friends is that you are partly responsible for them. What if you persuade3 them to do something and it ends up tragically? Would you want something like that on your conscience4? If it weren’t lethal, but your friend would be left crippled, would you be able to look them in the eye? Of course not!
That’s why you should think before you bring up some activity to do when you are bored. Think about it.
Have you ever done something with a friend that is illegal or very dangerous? Did something happen? What?
Another case of misusing the influence you have on somebody is to use him or her as a source of your homework.
Of course, at some point during your life, a friend will ask for your homework because he wasn’t able to do it, forgot to do it, etc. The first time he or she asks, you might lend them your homework without hesitation. He’s your friend, right? You should help him; you are sure that he would help you if you needed it!
But what if it happens again? And again, and again. Would you still lend it? What if the situation changes? What if you needed help, but he would not help?
That means your “friend” is just using you. I know you might not believe it at first, but I’m sure you would be better off without that friend. There are better people in the world than him.
Alright then, I hope you’ll be more aware5 of people you can influence and more careful with the people that influence you.


VOCABULARY:1podložiť, zdôvodniť – podložit, zdůvodnit; 2hniezdo – hnízdo; 3presvedčiť – přesvědčit, přimět; 4/konšens/ svedomie – svědomí; 5byť si vedomý, uvedomovať si – být si vědom, uvědomovat si