Having a group of friends can make or break a person.

Your friends are constantly surrounding you and are one of the biggest influencers of your behavior. Parents tell us to watch who we choose to be our friends and they’re right about that! Having the right friendships when we’re young can teach us valuable lessons and prepare us for when we’re adults.

Examples of good friendships can be found abundantly in the Wizard of Oz (both the movie and the books.)

Dorothy’s friendship with Scarecrow is like being a friend with a socially awkward chess club kid. He’s smart, but he’s shy and he doesn’t realize his full potential because he is constantly comparing himself to people in magazines. Dorothy is a good friend to Scarecrow because she helps him realize that he doesn’t need to compare himself to others. He is smart enough on his own.

Though I think I like Dorothy’s and Tin Man’s friendship the best. Tin Man is a soft and sweet guy, and in high school, this kind of guy can get chewed up and spit out. Guys, in general, are expected to be gruff and tough and not care about touchy-feely stuff. Dorothy helps Tin Man understand that guys can be sensitive too.

Friendship can bring out the best in people like in Scarecrow and Tin Man’s case, but friendship can also take a turn for the worst.

Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West used to be friends. Until The Witch decided to go down the path of evil. Glinda did the right thing in ending their friendship and not following the Witch. This is a super good example because some kids don’t know when to drop “friends.” Peer pressure is real and it’s scary.

Moral of the story: Pick your friends wisely and don’t give into peer pressure.