Dealing with Peer PressureDec 06, 2022
Do you ever feel like you're not good enough? That's a familiar feeling many of us experience, especially when dealing with peer pressure. Peer pressure can make us do things that we wouldn't normally do, and it can be tough to resist. This blog post will discuss some tips for dealing with peer pressure and making our best decisions.
Our peers can be a significant influence on our actions and decisions.
Peers are made up of the people we interact and socialize with in our daily lives. They are the people we have some form of relationships with, such as coworkers, neighbors, and friends within organizations or groups. We can be close to some of them, while for others, we may just be associating or talking with them occasionally because of the everyday circumstances that make us see them regularly. Some of them may form part of our social circle. Regardless of how close someone is to us, our peers can influence our actions and decisions, especially if a group tries to make us think and act a particular way.
Peer pressure by itself is not bad. But in addition, there is positive peer pressure, such as when your friends encourage you to try something new outside of your comfort zone that can help you grow. People may push you to try something that can benefit you, and peer pressure can help when it happens this way. It's negative peer pressure that is concerning.
Peer pressure becomes harmful when it starts to affect our actions and behavior, which leads us to commit acts that are out of character and may have negative consequences. For example, we may feel pressured by our peers to join them and do something against our beliefs and interests. As a result, people may be forced to do what others want them to do for fear of getting ejected from a social group or losing friends. It gets more overwhelming when everybody else is doing the same thing while you are the only one doing something different. It can be challenging to deal with peer pressure, but there are ways how one can face peer pressure effectively.
1. Learn to say "no."
Most of the time, people will ask you first if you want to join them to do something or go somewhere. So you always have the option to accept or decline their request. However, sometimes, people can be pushy, making it difficult to deny their requests. Also, people may feel down or treat you differently if you say no to them, so to not make them feel disappointed, you accept their request anyway. So it may not be too much of a problem if people invite you for a casual stroll or a simple activity like dining out. However, it's a different story if they ask you to come along and do some illegal act or something strongly against your beliefs. In such cases, you have to learn to say no and stand up for not wanting to come along and do what you want instead. If others get mad at your decision and start treating you differently, it's their problem, especially if you know that what they invite you to is immoral or not good for you.
2. Get some help from others
It can be challenging to decline others if it's just you and a group is being pushy towards you. If you can, try to get help and support from others with the same beliefs and interests. They can be your friends who share the same values as you, your parents, or someone who has higher authority and influence than you and the people who put peer pressure on you. For example, suppose you know that certain people frequently like to persuade you over something. In that case, you can try making plans beforehand and talking with others to help you get out of the situation in case you experience feeling pressured again. They can vouch for you and drag you out of the problem if people pressure you over something else. In addition, talking with others can make them aware of your situation and make you less vulnerable if people approach you again.
3. Make excuses
Lying can be uncomfortable, but sometimes, it can help you escape a tricky situation, such as facing peer pressure. One way to avoid peer pressure is to make up excuses. For example, you can say that you need to attend to something and that's why you can't accompany them. Try to be specific and give an apparent reason when giving excuses, so others won't think you are just making them up to avoid people. Also, make sure you follow through with what you have offered as an excuse so you won't make the mistake of allowing others to discover what you are doing. For example, if you said you couldn't go because you are not feeling well, stay home and avoid going to places nearby where the people inviting you may see you. Also, don't post anything on social media that indicates you are well and enjoying yourself with something else; otherwise, others may see the post and know the truth.
4. Think carefully about the consequences and decide firmly
To handle peer pressure better, you must have a good sense of identity and know your values and interests. If you have a solid foundation for your character, you can determine whether something will bring harm or good to you. So if somebody or others want you to do something out of peer pressure, think about the consequences they may bring. If it's negative and you have a strong mindset, you can politely say no, knowing what's best for you. Therefore, knowing yourself well can help you go against something that conflicts with your beliefs and help you make better decisions instead of just following what others want you to do.
5. Don't go into places where instances of peer pressure may trigger
If you know what can make you uncomfortable, avoiding going to places where people may push you to do certain things is better. For example, if you don't like alcoholic beverages, don't go to bars where people may invite you to drink. Also, if others ask you to go to places for drinking, you can politely dismiss their request and say you don't like alcoholic drinks. There may also be instances where certain groups of people want to hang out. You can avoid getting peer-pressured if you don't go to such places in the first place, so people won't spot you, increasing the chance of them interacting and inviting you. We are not suggesting that you become an aloof person; it's just that if you know you are not going to engage in healthy activities with others and you also don't like doing them, it's better to avoid situations that can trigger others to invite you and lessen the chances of you getting into trouble.
6. Find a different peer group
Not all peers are bad influences; some can provide support and have the same interests and beliefs as us. It will be good to find people with the same passions and interests as you, a group that you can consider as true friends and a robust support system for you. Many are better than one, and others may hesitate to invite you if they already see that you belong to a different group. Immersing yourself in activities you enjoy will also keep you busy and therefore makes you stay away from finding other things to relieve your boredom, such as joining others out of curiosity and doing something pleasurable that may not be your preference.
Handle peer pressure with ease
Good peers accept you for who you are and won't force you to engage and do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or is out of your comfort zone. It is nice to find such people within your social circle. However, peer pressure becomes more challenging to handle when you do it alone and don't have good friends for support. You can try planning and thinking about responses you can say or evasive actions you may take if you perceive that some people are inclined to influence or invite you over something. But, again, effective decision-making and staying resolute can help. Finding a path that resonates with you the most will be good in a world where many things can influence our actions and thoughts. It will be even better if you find others willing to accompany you in the same way you want to take.