Dealing with Peer Pressure
The social influence a peer group exerts on its individual members, as each member attempts to conform to the expectations of the group.
Every day, you make dozens of decisions. The question of whether or not decisions you make are healthy may be influenced by your friends, or peers. When you make a decision, sometimes you influence others choices and behaviors. Consequently, peer pressure, represents a powerful, inevitable part of adolescence.
Independence is a wonderful thing. During your teenage years you will, for the first time, become increasingly less dependent on your parents. As a result, you will likely spend more and more time with peers and less with parents and siblings. While independence grants you personal freedom, most teens are influenced more by the way their peers dress and act, activities they’re involved in and attitudes.
Teens identify and constantly compare themselves to peers because they want to fit in. In particular cases, being influenced by peers are positive because friendship and peer relationships are a part of socialization — What experts consider an important factor of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, a negative side also exists, traditionally referred to as peer pressure.
What is Peer Pressure?
“Friends” can pressure others into doing something they’re uncomfortable with such as shoplifting, experimenting with alcohol and drugs, having sex and driving recklessly. Peer pressure may be expressed directly or indirectly.
While peer pressure is often depicted in movies openly (“Come on, man. It’s ONLY one beer!”), the reality is that most peer pressure is subtle and difficult to define. Regardless, victims of peer pressure almost always conform because they fear being left out.
Responding to peer pressure is part of human nature. Nearly everyone will end up, at some point, caught in a peer pressure situation. How you decide to handle the situation, however, will determine whether or not you end-up “following the crowd”.
Dealing with Peer Pressure
If you cannot avoid peer pressure how do you ignore peer pressure situations, especially those in which your gut is telling you that whatever your peers are doing is wrong?
The truth is no magic potion exists. The only thing you need to stand up to peer pressure is courage.
Unfortunately, teens lacking self-confidence generally have trouble standing up for their beliefs. Thus, demonstrating courage in a peer pressure situation is not always easy. Here are a few tips to overcome that fear:
- “Listen to Your Gut”. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s because you know it’s wrong.
- Plan ahead. If you are going to a party, but do not want to drink alcohol think about a few ways you will turn down offers to booze. If you have a few rebuttals planned and have rehearsed how you’ll handle the situation — you’re confidence should only grow.
- The power of “No”. You should never have the need to offer an explanation or apology with good friends. Learn to feel comfortable saying “no”.
- Keep Good Company. If your “friends” constantly pressure you, do you really need them around? Hang with people who feel the same way or at least keep company with friends not afraid to speak-up when you’re in need of moral support.
Resisting peer pressure is obviously not easy. It takes a lot of guts to stand-up for something, especially if you’re the only one in a group. However, chances are you will feel great about your character after it’s all over. You may even represent a positive influence on peers who are impressed with your ability to go against the grain. Leaders never follow the crowd.
Tags: conforming to peers, dealing with peer pressure, following the crowd, handling peer pressure, health, peer pressure, peer pressure part of human nature, peer pressure tips, social influence, teen independence, teen influence, traits of a leader
NomNomNomNomBabies on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 6:39 am
People peer pressure on accident, sometimes. I didn’t read the whole article, but you had the word “friends” in quotes. Even your best friend in the entire world can peer pressure you into doing something, maybe without meaning, and continue to be your best friend for the rest of your life.
Anonymous on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 1:39 am
If you feel uncomfortable with the peer pressure you’re dealing with then you need to hang around people who do things you want to do. Dont swim with fishes if you dont want to get wet, plain and simple. It’s easy to say no to some things, (if someone offered you heroin out of the blue you wouldnt take it) but if you hang around people who consume alot of alcohol you ARE GOING to start drinking as as well. It’s human nature, even if the person isnt offering you alcohol you will eventually just grab it for yourself. People naturally mimic other people, especially those that they like.
strawberry90210 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm
erm i stick to saying no and walk away its not even a problem people do it to themselfs
hipsterhilter on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm
That squeezy ball ain’t gonna do sweet **** all to help.
rocketkid1234 on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm
To me peer presure is BS. I offer if the person acts all iffy i tell them yes or no then i leave it alone. People make there own choices.