This article was first published on June 30, 2022. It was republished on August 27, 2023.

Who you’re friends with in high school can influence how you’ll behave throughout your life, new research has found.

They can set you up for success or trouble, according to researchers from the University of Amsterdam.

They found that from the age of 10, the most influential people in shaping your personality switches from family to friends.

Your friends during this time can influence how likely you are to make risky decisions around things like crime, alcohol and drugs, and unprotected sex.

They can even help determine what your beliefs and morals are.

The research published on Wednesday also found teenagers challenge accepted norms and influence each other with new values which might make them “a driving force in the evolution of our cultural values”.

This could influence how people viewed issues such as the environment and gun ownership.

The level of influence a friend has depends on a range of factors, including how popular they are, and how common selfish or selfless actions are seen and experienced in a person's wider community.

Although the researchers found friends are capable of being good influences, negative examples were generally more influential than good examples.

The strength of this influence declines over time so by the ages of 18 to 20, friends have relatively little influence on your decision making.

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