Because Ponyboy is around the gang so much, they affect his growing confidence. When he runs into the Socs he is tough and stands his ground, as seen when he uses "the end of ... bottle and ...tossed away... cigarette" (171). This shows how in his life he is influenced by the gang because he knows the gang is tough and he tries to be like them and challenges the Socs and stands up for himself.
When Johnny dies Pony learns many things after the loss of Johnny, Pony is having a hard time as seen when he says that he "losing up on my schoolwork... I used to get As... Now I get Ds" (169). This shows how much Pony cares for Johnny and how much of an effect it had on his daily life, causing him to not be able to think straight and focus because he was so distraught. Also, Johnny's death teaches him to cope with loss and keep the memory of Johnny as a happy thought.
Throughout the story, he learns to have empathy and feels for not only the members of his gang but others too. He learns how to understand others through his conversation with Randy he finishes talking to Randy and says, "He ain't a soc... he's just a guy" (PAGE #) This displays how he changes his opinion of a Soc after they talk and he understands him and sees all the problems Randy is having too. He was open to changing his feelings for others and learning that Socs are always bad and to look closer before you judge.