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This is a question that drives attention to a concept that I find horribly depressing about most mainstream study advice:

I get alright grades in school but my parents tend to freak out over every subpar grade I get. They blame my friends. I think they might be right. I try to study with them and it never seems to work. They do tend to get much lower grades than me. I want to get into a good college and I’m afraid they’re a little bit of a distraction. What do you think?
-Alan

Yes. I think your friends are a distraction. If you think they’re a distraction then they probably are. That’s not the important question though. The real important question is whether you want to let some arbitrary scores dictate the people that you’re friends with.

The vast majority of students make their friends based on dumb luck in school. They spend hours and hours in school and occasionally they stumble into another person that’s a good distraction from the monotony of school. These friends tend to get along but most of them are more friends of convenience than friends of shared interests.

Would you still be friends with these people if you didn’t go to school with them? Would you regularly go to hang out with them? Would you enjoy their company? If the answer is yes then I think you need to reassess your priorities a little.

Teachers and parents love to blame friends because it tends to move the responsibility off the parents and teachers. Students tend to hang out with people they’re compatible with. If students are compatable with a “bad crowd” then that says something about the parents and the teachers. Naturally, it’s directly saying something about the student as well. This is the fact that most people try to avoid considering.

I don’t know what kind of a “bad crowd” you’re being accused of hanging out with but I’ve seen plenty of bad crowds that are smart and end up better off than average. I’ve seen plenty of good crowds that end up doing unbelievably stupid and dangerous things. This is a distinction that is up to you to make. The people around you can only see so much. It’s ultimately up to you.

I’m leading to a single fundamental point. You don’t need to choose between friends and good grades. If you’re studying right then very little studying can produce great results. Use this blog to get more details on that. With a little balance, you can have both. Any teachers or parents that try to tell you otherwise are wrong and unbelievably misguided.

Good friends MAY take up too much time to make perfect grades (or near perfect.) That’s because perfect goals are so ridiculously time intensive that they are hardly worth going for. I would never recommend perfection for just that reason. I

n fact, given the choice between friends and perfect grades, I’d recommend friends every single time. (As you get older you’ll notice that friendships end up giving you pleasure, jobs, and virtually anything else you’re looking for.)

I can’t tell you if you’re hanging out with a good set of people. I can’t tell you if you they’re hurting your grades dramatically. I can tell you not to let other people screw up what your priorities are.

Do you want to study in less than 15 minutes a night while aceing your tests? That’s what this blog is about. Be sure to follow, check out the archives, and read the ebooks in the sidebar for all the details.

Q/A – Bad Study Friends

Learn Like Lightning

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5 thoughts on “Q/A – Bad Study Friends

  • December 3, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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    “The best teacher is a student who teaches you during the 20 minutes before the exam”. Haha. This actually describes that one particular person who gives you some priceless info. Anyways, I totally agree with you. We need to prioritise. A bad friend is enough to destroy your aims and motives. Work towards your goal. Friends second. Goals first! 🙂

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  • January 22, 2016 at 12:00 am
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    I love how you differentiated between friends of convenience and friends of shared interests. It really made me reassess who my actual close friends are, and they have never been a distraction. I’ve often seen how some of these friends will be understanding and leave you to study for a while. I completely agree with the priorities part, everyone has their own and there’s no right or wrong if you’re comfortable with it.

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  • January 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm
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    I understand how people tend to blame the friends since it is considered less messy than blaming the parents or teachers. Sometimes friends can really keep you on track and other times it seems like they just want to keep you from even thinking of school. It also is easy to make friends just because you see each other every day at school. When summer comes around I barely talk to any of the people I talk to everyday at school. Most of my friends are just people who help to make my day at school less awkward and lonely.

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  • December 30, 2015 at 5:07 am
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    I love your answer to the question. So many people I hanged at high school were friends of convenience… Even though we never spoke about it, we understood that with the last day of school we will stop talking to each other. Guess what happened? Yeah.
    If OP’s friends are the real kind, they should be careful how they’re going to handle the issue. They shouldn’t lose them just because of grades, though of course this is also important.

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  • December 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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    Friends can be distracting but they I’ve also found them to be really useful in the run up to exams! But I suppose that’s only when you and said friend(s) are equally motivated. I found going through notes with a friend reassuring and explaining it to others confirms I understand everything. I also love to Skype a friend when I’m revising and we can easily sit in silence and then ask the other when we have a question. It’s also good for taking short and regular breaks. Like I said though, if your friends have no motivation then they can just be a nuisance.

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