The saying, “You are who you hang out with,” is an interesting truth. I remember in high school watching good kids get caught up with the wrong crowd and wondering who was going to win that tug of war. Would the “good” kid turn bad or would the “bad” kids turn good? Often the determining factor was the length of time spent together. If the “good” kids hung around long enough with the wrong crowd, they seemed destined to become one of them. If they left the group soon enough, they maintained their “good” core.
Let me just note that I believe most humans -- with only the rare exception -- have a good core. Unfortunately, though, people can lose themselves along the way. People can get caught up with the wrong crowd, make bad decisions and then begin to see themselves differently. Naturally when they see themselves differently, they act differently.
I see this dynamic play out in adult relationships as well.
• A “good” guy hangs out with a couple of friends who party, cheat on their wives and “have a good time.” At first, this bothers him, but soon it just becomes part of the scenery when he’s with his friends. Soon he starts increasing his partying. He comes home later and later. He starts to flirt while he’s out and learns to also “have a good time.” Before he knows it, he’s become one of the gang.