BFFs and frenemies are one of the best...and worst...things about being a teen. What you might not realize is that they're also possibly one of the highest risks you'll ever face. Why? Because it may seem like those never-ending text conversations and tweets back and forth are trivial rumblings, but new research reveals that they're influencing everything from mental health, to career paths, to how you approach relationships with guys. Do your friends draw you closer to Jesus? Or closer to the boy-crazy train? Let me be honest with you, there is no middle ground.
Here are three things you need to ask yourself about your friendships if you value sexual purity.
1.) Do you spend most of your time co-miserating? If you don't know, co-miserating means being miserable together. That's what you do when the texts and Snapchats flying back and forth revolve around everything that's wrong in your life. Research reveals that focusing on the bad stuff all the time tends to lead to depression. And depression tends to raise the risk of teen sex. (Let's be honest, we don't make good decisions when we're depressed. Whether it's eating a pint of ice cream right out of the bucket or giving our virginity away.)
2.) Do you share the same values? Hanging out with friends who believe sex is just a fun physical act won't help you live out the biblical value of treasuring sex as an exclusive gift to be shared between a man and a wife. The Bible says that she "who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20)
3.) Are your friends on the boy-crazy train? If they are, it's going to be kind of hard not to jump on it. And even though casual sex is becoming more and more common, the research indicates that one of the greatest risks to having teen sex is being in a dating relationship for six months or longer. If you jump on the boy-crazy train in middle school, you're likely to have lots of relationships that last six months before you even finish high school. Consider convincing your friends to jump off the boy-crazy train before you bail on them, but don't be afraid to take the dive alone if you have to.
4.) Do your friends dress modestly? I'm all about cute clothes. Do not tell me not to shop until I drop, but come on. Where is the inseam in today's shorts? And the celebs necklines are plunging to new lows, so it's just a matter of time before ours do, too. Why does this matter? Well, controversial as this statement will be, here goes: the way we dress impacts how we are perceived and how we act. Dressing immodestly doesn't bring attention to your brains and your heart, but your body. That certainly doesn't safeguard you. Research indicates that friends dictate your style and fashion preferences and vice versa. How do your friends dress?
5.) Have you invited your parents into your friendships? Beginning in middle school, most girls say their parents should not be a part of their friendships. That's malarky! We never grow so wise and so old that we outgrow the need for wisdom in our relationships. Inviting your parents to advice and counsel and even hang out with your friends will eliminate a lot of the risk associated with friendships including losing your purity.
If you took this little quiz and didn't like how you fared, consider joining our fall livestream study about purity. You can learn more HERE.