Objectively speaking, we all know peer pressure is the absolute worst.
We also know that stomping on our moral compass to impress people or even be accepted by a particular group just sounds wrong – but often times, the situation spirals so out of your control that you can do nothing but give in. Maybe you can’t say no; you’re one of those people who thrive on pleasing other people or you just hate calling negative behaviors out. Maybe you don’t want to look like a dweeb in front of the wrong kids and feeling like one is even worse than feeling guilty for doing the wrong thing. The possibilities, you see, are endless.
We understand and it’s okay, not your fault at all.
But before we can move on to see how you can effectively avoid or deal with these situations, let’s get one thing straight. What is peer pressure in the first place?
‘Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This can result in either a positive or negative effect.’ (Wikipedia)
In this article we’ll mostly be dealing with peer pressure that has negative effects, tips on how to deal with instances where it overwhelms you and some advice on how to avoid such situations all together in the future.
First things first, you’re not a bad person for giving in to the pressure. You’re not weak and no one is going to look down on you for this. Take a deep breath and understand that we as humans are plagued by the need to fit in and to be accepted and loved by everyone around us. You’re no different, it all boils down to understanding the whole psychology of it and now that you’ve understood why you engaged in a particular behavior, it’s time to discover the different ways in which you can deal with peer pressure.
The perfect no is a firm no, not a harsh one. If you learn to say no and walk away, you will be doing yourself a huge favor especially since the power to refuse someone and break away from constant people-pleasing is something that will benefit you in all stages of life. If someone tries to pressure you into doing something that you’re not comfortable with, distance yourself from them not only physically but let them know that you’re not interested in it, at that particular moment. No matter how many times they push you, push right back. Often times, people will stop persisting after a few initial times.
Finding a friend who can also say no is a powerful move since it shows more resistance; choose your pals wisely, these are the people who can save you from a lot of unnecessary drama.
It’s also important to remember to keep your calm when you’re dealing with a person who is constantly pressuring you; most of the times, these people just want to watch you experience emotional turmoil. Don’t give them that satisfaction! Instead, laugh in their face when they suggest that you do something you’re not comfortable with – this makes the other person drop the subject in most cases since no one likes being laughed at.
While there is not much that you can actually do about stopping people from pressuring you, there is something you can do for yourself to avoid any future mishaps. If you slip up a couple of times and do something out of peer pressure remember to forgive yourself and instead focus on how you can prevent the same from happening next time. Breathe and don’t panic. It’s not your fault and you’ve got this. You’ve just got to look past these slip-ups and focus on doing better!
At the end of the day, remember, that we’re all human and all you need to do sometimes is cut yourself a little slack!