By Jessica H
Over the course of my life I’ve had a lot of friends come and go. Some have been really good friends, but some have not been so great. As I look back over the friends I’ve had, I realize that there was a direct relationship between the kind of friends I had and how I was feeling about myself. One example showed this relationship very clearly in my life.
In my sophomore year of high school, I was with a group of friends who weren’t necessarily bad, but they weren’t the best. They were pretty negative and tended to have conversations that weren’t the greatest. They were always quick to gossip and verbally tore people down. Being my very shy 15-year-old self, I never said anything. But I felt awful. Throughout the year I struggled a lot. I had a hard time viewing myself in a positive light and I just wasn’t happy at all! I would put on a smile and pretend, but I wasn’t happy inside and I knew it. However, I didn’t think I could give up a group of friends that I had been with for over a year. I knew that being with them was only making me unhappy about life and myself, but I didn’t know where else to turn.
Then a new semester started. I had English with a girl whom I knew, but never had really talked to. We started visiting in class and became pretty good friends. At lunch I started to eat with her and her friends. Their conversations were surprisingly positive. I felt so much happier. I felt like a light had turned on inside me. I felt warm, but I didn’t realize why. One day, it dawned on me that I was so much happier when I was around people who built others up. Their influence had been helping me see the good in others and in myself.
From that point on, I realized that I needed to be very picky about who my close friends were. It’s not that I refused to be friends with others; I just didn’t let myself get too close to that negativity again. I learned from this experience that friends truly make a difference to me–to the way I think and to the way I act. The people you are around make a difference in your life. Having good friends matters. I remained close with that good friend group through the rest of high school, and I am so grateful that I did. Because I chose to be around them and their positivity, my high school experience was really good.
What did I learn from this? Having good friends really does make a difference. Because of my good friends, I am able to see the good in this world and appreciate the blessings that I have. I am happy and see the good in myself.