This is part of a series – post links at the end.
The “crowd” can keep us out of trouble – we may avoid doing something stupid because we know it is culturally questionable. On the other hand, the “crowd” can also get us into trouble if we follow them into things that are unwise, or worse. We must choose our friends wisely because they will influence us! Friends effect even those not strongly susceptible to normative influence; those highly susceptible to normative influence are especially influenced – for good or bad.
A few thoughts on interpersonal relationships and normative influence:
- If you know you don’t resist “peer pressure” well, be careful, lest you be lead astray. Learn to pray and think twice before you follow others.
- If you are not moved by peer pressure, you should be aware you may be seen as a leader – even if you don’t want to be. If you march to the sound of a different drummer, I suggest you think on this scripture: “Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.” [Rom 14:22b ESV]
- If you have friends who set rather than follow trends, realize such a people are a mixed blessing. They can show you wonderful things, but they can also show you things you should avoid; think and pray about their influence!
- If you have friends who would jump off a bridge if you did, be careful. God does seem to think we are our brother’s keepers, and I believe many will be judged for things they encouraged others to do. Encouragement, by the way, can be as simple as doing something in front of others, or discussing it as if it’s acceptable. The tricky thing here is it can be okay for you to do something but is a sin for another because of their convictions and beliefs.
By the way, please think and pray about what I say – ALWAYS! I understand the responsibility I have for what I share, and I do so prayerfully. However, I’m as imperfect as the next guy (maybe more so) and even if what I say is right, it does not mean you should apply it to your life or marriage right now – or ever.
If you have found me to be trustworthy, would you be willing to help support what I do here, and on the various on-line aspects of The Marriage Bed? We are working to build a group of micro-donors that will allow us to cut back on other work and spend more time doing marriage ministry. Thanks!
In this series about how normative influence shapes our lives:
Why we follow the crowd
Letting others influence your actions
The smallest cultural group
Your marriage as a tool to being a better person
Is your social group inbred?
Is artificial society influencing you?
The voices in the marriage chamber
Wrap up on social influence