Blog of Mass Distraction

Monday, September 06, 2004

I was talking with someone recently about how we're influenced by our friends or those around us. Some people can certainly be negatively influenced by their friends, picking up negative stereotypes or bad habits. But looking at how I've influenced or been influenced by my friends, I think it has been rather positive.
The ones that come to mind first are two the helped me greatly expand my horizons. One, who is quite a talented musician, helped me learn to appreciate music on a new level. I used to be very select in the music I would listen to, but after hanging around my musician friend I've learned to appreciate and accept a broader spectrum of music and musicians. Even music I don't particularly like, or don't usually listen to, I can still appreciate the talent and skill of those performing.
My other friend, similarly, helped me appreciate art. More than just visual art but the arts in general and I think this really helped me grow as a person. Not only did I not appreciate arts before, I had a disdain for them. Now I can enjoy art and I have a deep interest in philosophy and I've rekindled my youthful interest in literature all because of the influence of my friend.
I've also influenced those around me and my influence almost always has to do with politics and the concomitant issues of discussion (freedom of expression, human rights, etc). I've managed to pique the interest of several friends with my open discussion of political views and events. And, though they aren't as deeply involved or invested in politics as I am, they have come to understand the importance of staying informed and comprehending the implications of political events and decisions.
I can think of a couple of other friends that have helped me grow and learn new things about myself. One that I met not too long ago helped me increase confidence and appreciate my writing ability. Another, whose friendship can be quite trying at times, has helped me increase my patience and understanding of others.
I can think of friends I've had that may have had some negative influence on me, but I don't really stay in touch with many of them. Even those that I do, having an understanding of that possible influence makes it much easier to be wary of watchful of their ability to affect me. And there's no reason to stop hanging around them just because they may participate in a few things I don't like.
There are, of course, others that I haven't mentioned and I can think of two off the top of my head. But I've made my point and I appreciate all my friends for helping me improve my character, however mild that improvement may be.


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