How Peers Affect an Individual

The people that surround us are often unique and can vary in character and qualities. These people are often called friends or peers. Friends are considered companions and are considerably close to an individual while the terms peers are commonly used to describe the people around the same environment as an individual. These terms may carry slightly in definition but there is one aspect in which they meet: and that is the fact that these individuals can affect the academic performance of an individual without them realizing it.

Having friends is not actually a bad thing. In fact, it would be advisable to have a few close friends you can trust to accompany you and mutually benefit from each other. However, sooner or later, you will be unconsciously affected by the characteristics and traits of the people who surround you.

It is during these times that one must be aware of the positive and negative outcomes of social influence, as well as the ways to properly handle it. And if you want to learn more, then continue reading the article to find out how.

Positive outcomes

Just like the saying goes, “No man is an island”, having friends and peers close to an individual has a myriad of positive benefits. One cannot stand alone in this world without the support and help of others. Listed below are the positive outcomes of having friends and peers in terms of academics.

• Motivation

When an individual is surrounded by people who are brimming with positivity, they too shall be motivated to keep on pursuing their goals and dreams. The people within the circle of friends will also be able to cheer on the member of the group towards reaching the dreams and goals that they aim to achieve.

This will lead to an individual being even more motivated to strive for academic excellence and improvement. And once an individual is motivated to achieve their goals and dreams, achieving the said goals and dreams will be much easier and more enjoyable for the individual.

• Encourage to do better

When an individual is constantly surrounded by friends and peers who are excel academically, the individual will naturally work hard in order to keep up with the group and to gain a sense of belonging. This is a positive effect brought upon by having the right people around an individual.

Human beings generally want to blend in and fit snuggly in the circle of friends they have. And when that circle of friends is filled with individuals that aim to be better academically, they will unconsciously affect the choices of their fellow friends as well. When the majority of the individuals in the circle are aiming to do better, the other will follow suit and strive to be academically excellent as well.

• More ideas

The phrase “Two heads are better than one” will be true depending on the context in which the phrase was mentioned. In the case of friends and peers, this phrase does, in fact, speak the truth.

A common positive effect of having friends and peers will be the fact that these individuals can come up with more ideas together. Creativity is an important aspect of academics. However, one’s creativity is limited to the principles and knowledge one already knows. But when an individual is surrounded by friends or peers, the amount of collective knowledge the group will possess will increase significantly resulting in more abundant and creative ideas.

Negative outcomes

Just like how there are always two sides to a coin, there will also be negative outcomes that come along with having friends and peers. These outcomes will be dictated by the circle of friends one chooses to belong in. Below are a few examples of the negative outcomes that may arise

• Laziness

When an individual is surrounded by people that are constantly lazing around and putting off activities that need to be done, they will most likely adapt the said characteristic in order to fit in with the group. This can lead to the individual becoming lazy and unproductive which could seriously put a damper on their academic performance.

• Jealousy and Bullying

Bullying is a result of multiple factors. Jealousy is one of the primary motivators. And in a circle of friends, it is almost impossible to not have a single individual that is not jealous of another in the group. This can lead to bullying even inside the circle of friends which is often tolerated by the other members as they only see it as a harmless activity.

Bullying is no laughing matter and can seriously damage one’s mental, emotional, and physiological health. Even when you are not the subject of the bullying, tolerating the act just because they are “friends” will only lead to you gaining a twisted view of the effects of bullying.

• Can promote unambitious behavior

Individuals surrounded by people who do not dream big and only settle for less than what they deserve will also develop the same trait. It is important to have ambitions and aspirations that may seem far-fetched at first, but can slowly be achieved over time. This will allow one to strive hard in order to achieve such dreams.

However, when one does not aim for anything difficult to reach, they become unambitious. This will result in them lacking the motivation to improve and aim for something better. These individuals will inevitably end up in a stagnant lifestyle without a clear vision of improvement.

How to handle social influence

Social influence is a factor that can greatly dictate the academic achievements and mindset one has. It may not be as prevalent as innate talent or industriousness, but is still an important factor when it comes to the choices that an individual makes academically.

Social influence is often a double-edged sword. It can often lead one to aim for greatness or be the reason for one’s downfall. Handling social influence is an important task that one should execute in order to fully harness the positive effects of social influence while mitigating the risk of the negative effects social influence may bring. Here are a few ways to handle social influence wisely.

1. Be wary of the people around you

Being observant is not just important for daily life in order to avoid any possible scams, but is also an important trait when choosing the people that you surround yourself with. There will be people that will only come to you when they need something and will not return the favor. These types of people are not suited for the mutual relationship known as friendship.

Determining whether the people close to you are appropriate for your development will be the first step one must take in order to properly manage social influence. One cannot choose whether they will be influenced or not; however, one can choose who will influence them.

2. Cut connections with negative people

After the first step of managing social influence which was determining the character of the people around you, the next step would be to cut ties with those you deem are negatively affecting you. This may be difficult to do so at first as cutting ties with someone seems like a rude thing to do, but it is necessary lest you want to be steered into the wrong path.

People with negative characters will only result in you gaining that negative trait as well. This will do no good to your development and will only lead to the negative outcome mentioned in the previous parts of the article.

3. Make sure to balance your time

When one spends a lot of time with their friends and peers, they will adapt to the traits and hobbies of their friends and peers much faster. This can be a good thing once the people you surround yourself with are positively affecting you, but once the opposite is happening, it may lead to bad endings.

Balancing one’s time is important in managing the amount of social influence one receive. When one spends too much time with their friends and peers, the habits and traits of the people around them will be incorporated into their habits much faster and will be more difficult to control.

4. Be the person who leads

Another way to mitigate the social influence you receive is by being the person who influences instead of being the one being influenced. Be the person who steers the group in the right direction. Rather than going with the flow of things, become the river that will guide your drifting friends downstream and into the ocean of improvement.

Being the one to lead the group into improvement and positive outcomes is one of the best ways to mitigate the social influence dealt with you. This will result in the individuals in the group striving for positivity and improvements and will create a positive loop of influencing and being influenced into positivity. All it needs to kickstart the loop is the person with the initiative to create positivity and improvement.


The effects that the people surrounding an individual will make will depend on how the individual chose the people they surround themselves with. The slight changes in character and habits may be subtle for the individual, but over the course of a few years, a significant change will occur in them that will be noticeable even to the individual. This is why it would be wise to know the effects that friends and peers might bring towards one’s self.

If you like our content and want to learn more, then feel free to visit us as FamilyTutor. We are Singapore’s leading home tuition agency with thousands of highly skilled and capable tutors. We offer private tuition on a variety of subjects including Math, Biology, Chemistry, and even Physics.  



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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