How to Recognize a Bad Influence in Your Social Circle and What to Do Next

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Could your friends be a bad influence? Here are the signs that you are in bad company and tips on how to deal with toxic and bad influence friends.

You already know that birds of the same feather fly together! Friendship is fundamental if you want to live a more fulfilling life. But what should you do if your closest pals keep on getting you into trouble? This is what we call a bad influence.

A good friend should bring the best in you and support you during hardships because they are like your family. You must be very objective when figuring out if your friends are helping you to build a great future or they simply are bad influences.

But what does bad influence mean? Simply put, it is a situation where someone encourages you to do wrong by example or inculcates bad thoughts on you.

If you are not sure of the type of birds you flock with, here are some signs that your friends are a bad influence.

  1. Your friend tells you to lie to your partner, parents or other friends
  2. The company is all about partying
  3. You feel tired, annoyed or empty after hanging out with your friends
  4. Your friend has a carefree attitude that costs you a lot of money
  5. Your get-togethers are all about gossip and making fun of other people
  6. You feel guilty when refusing to go somewhere or do something your friend suggests
  7. You often feel unappreciated, miserable or intimidated when hanging out with your friend
  8. Your friend is a chronic phone thief
  9. Drama is always finding you
  10. Your friend never warns you when you cross the line

How can you stay away from bad influence? Here is a rundown of the best tips.

  • Identify bad friends

It’s not that hard to notice a bad friend. You can tell by how they make you feel. Many times, you’ll feel uncomfortable around bad people. They will pressure you to get into things you don’t want to. And when you refuse to do it, they start teasing or intimidating you.

Often, they’ll use reverse psychology to get what they want, making you feel guilty when you don’t concur with their suggestions. This is exactly what a bad influence is. It comes from someone who does not have respect for your values or opinions.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out who your friends really are.

  • Have they tried to manipulate you?
  • Do they boss you around?
  • Are they disrespectful and mean?
  • Do they abuse drugs?
  • Do they belittle your opinions?
  • Do they make you feel bad about your body and eating habits?
  • Are they violent?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you need to start realizing the negative effects your friends have on you. Perhaps, you give them too many chances or even defend them in front of your partner or parents when they object how your friends treat you.

Many times you’ll feel used, trapped, drained, frustrated, unappreciated, and guilty for what you do with your friends. That is when you know you are too good at being influenced.

  • Embrace positivity and shun negativity

The truth is it is not easy to block all the negative people in your life. You also need to know that your friends will abandon you when you start moving towards positivity.

You don’t need to ignore them completely. All you have to do is change the frequency of interacting with them. Gradually reduce the exposure to these toxic friendships.

Consider having a few weeks away from them to allow the emotions to subside. Then follow minimum interaction in the future. Toxic friendships, according to experts at PaperOwl, are like germs in the air: there is no way to avoid them completely. But you can take the necessary precautions not to come close to dirty places or share drinks with the bad guys.

Using this strategy, you will reduce the time you spend with the bad people and increase your interactions with positive people.

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