When I was in high school I knew a girl who morphed into a copy of anyone she became close to. If she was dating a guy with a country image, she wore the cowboy boots and talked about pickup trucks. If the next month she dated a more urban guy, it was all about rap and the (supposedly) thug life.
What she did wasn’t very unusual. And, it’s not all that bad to pick up certain traits and interests from friends and dates. Maybe a new friend exposes us to a style of music that we’ve never considered before. All of that is great.
However, there are times when a person’s entire identity is swallowed by another person. I saw it as a teacher and I see it in my job at a treatment center.
It’s especially bad in the treatment context because I see people who had strong values and a promising life change into completely different people when they got into the wrong crowd.
The key to being successful and popular is that you don’t give up your identity for anyone. You definitely need to be cool, flexible, and non-judgmental towards others (don’t be a constant fighter like the picture to the left). But, you should do this while retaining your core identity.
So, if you’re a strong Christian, then own it. If you love redneck culture, then be a redneck. The key is to hold to your values in a way that is both confident and being cool to others. You should always keep an open mind and be willing to evolve in your beliefs, of course, especially as a teen.
However, this is completely different from changing your ideals, values, and personality every time you get a new boyfriend or best friend.
So, stand up for yourself and your identity. In the end, as long as you’re cool and fun and not obnoxious, people will admire you for your confidence and conviction.