Growing up, did your mother ever ask, “If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you follow?”
I’m sure some of the time I replied with a snarky remark. If I answered “yes,” I’m not sure how often I meant it.
My mother (from whom I received my snarky, honest attitude) asked me the other day if I’d follow my friend if he were to jump off a bridge.
“He wouldn’t do anything without asking me first,” was my initial response. Snarky.
Then I said, “Yes. I would.”
This exchange happened because my family (and some of my friends) think a good pal (the term BFF applies) somehow is infiltrating my mind by encouraging me to not eat meat.
Back in November, I wrote about how I began a quest to focus less on eating meat. It had nothing to do with eating healthier (the ungodly amounts of Pepsi Max and Pepsi Next I consume are proof). Instead, my idea had more to do with the treatment of animals and — simply enough — just trying to require meat with every meal.
I haven’t dumped a carnivorous way completely. But since focusing less on meat, today marks a month since I last chomped down on something meaty.
And that extended period of time has people noticing. So they ask. I explain.
Those who know my friend usually say something like, “He did this to you, right?” — as if my buddy has some control over my life.
Our friends — especially close ones — do have some power in our lives. They are influencers.
It's easy to understand why. We already have much in common with our good friends, including sharing interests. We respect our friends and take their advice to heart.
Despite the corporate world’s best efforts, word of mouth remains the best marketing tool on this planet.
So when a friend suggests something, more often than not we’re going to consider it.
In my case, for instance, I had mulled over the idea of going meatless — or at least exploring options — for quite some time.
A two-or-three year vegetarian, my friend did have a lot of input in this decision. I watched as he was able to enjoy the same restaurants and foods as I did — just without meat.
When I had suggested this before to other friends and family, they all scoffed at the idea.
Especially my family.
But it took me observing a good friend to see this is something I could try. To the best of my knowledge, my pal is a strict vegetarian. I, on the other hand, am not. Though, my meat intake has become far less prevalent.
There are many friends who simply are folks in your life you get along with, sometimes enjoy being around and want to check in with at times.
But then there are the folks whose advice and input you respect and look for when something happens. I expect my good friends to be honest and open with me — and that means not telling me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear.
Friends have nothing but respect to gain by being open and honest with one another. Even when that honesty challenges the friendship.
I have several friends whom I’d never follow if they jumped off a bridge. I’d try to stop them and call for help. But I wouldn’t follow. And then there are a few good friends who could decide to jump off a bridge and I’d likely follow. Because I trust, respect and love them dearly. I just hope the water isn’t too cold.
twoday magazine wants to know: How much influence in your life do your friends have on your own life? Share with us on our Facebook page.
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