Peer pressure is feeling or acting in a certain way that is not normal to you simply because you want to please and feel accepted by your peers. Peer pressure can be experienced by all types of age groups. However, the most vulnerable groups are teenagers and young adults. Some life aspects that may get influenced by peer pressure include;
- The way we dress and style up our hair
- Everyday activities like where we hang out
- Taste of music
- Whether to take or not take alcoholic drinks and drugs
- Who to date
Types of Peer Pressure
Peer Pressure can be generated from these three aspects;
- Direct – Having a friend who forcefully dictates what you should or shouldn’t do.
- Indirect – Being involved in a group that does some activities that if alone, you would not indulge.
- Self-Motivated – Pressuring yourself to fit in with the current fashionable trends so as not to look like an odd one out and also to avoid being segregated by peers.
How to Scale Over Peer Pressure
- Know what you want in life
As we grow up and interact with our parents, caregivers, teachers etc. we get to learn and differentiate right from wrong. There are a lot of lessons we learn from our environment, community and other channels like TV’s that help us to distinguish right and harmful habits. All this knowledge should be a means to assist us in deciding what we want to achieve in life and the path to follow.
- Choose your friends
It’s often said friendship is by choice not by force. After determining your path, you need to assess the kind of friends to associate with. For example, if you are an athlete, you are likely to hang out with fellow athletes who are disciplined and focused and eliminate anyone who indulges in excessive drinking and drugs. When you leave the bachelors camp, your new joint would be with the married squad. For the teens in school, observing your fellow students for a while would be appropriate to get to know their character before embracing them as bosom friends.
- Learn to say a firm ‘No.’
Sometimes due to unavoidable circumstances in our surrounding, we could find yourself in places and situations that demand a similar response for every participant. For example, a company party, or a fellow student’s birthday party and everyone is having alcohol which could be against your values. Under such pressure, you need to be firm in your decision, making eye contact with whoever is insisting. Be ready for bully’s who may try to pressure you by calling you names. Remain calm and steadfast.
- Your words should match with your actions
Keep off places that are likely to influence you negatively. If you don’t want to be a drunk, don’t hang around pubs, if you don’t want to be a drug addict don’t spend your free time with drug dealers and addicts. If you find yourself in a situation where your immediate response is expected, for example, ‘taking bribes’, your stand should be firm, probably just saying a ‘no’ may not be convincing enough, and so your answer could be ‘I can never get involved in bribery’ which sounds more strong and affirmative.
- Differentiate positive from negative pressure
Peer pressure can have either a positive or negative effect. For example a trending hairstyle like ‘Short Bob Hairstyles,’ can influence pressure on ladies to look uniform at the same time classic. Hence, having a positive effect. On the other hand some peer pressure have negative effects, for example speeding on the road to prove ones speed and driving skills can be fatal.
- Be a vocal champion of your values
You don’t need to wait for an odd situation to declare your stand, keep declaring your position on matters that influence others negatively. It builds the capacity to fight off such vices even before they ever present themselves. It also keeps away people who are contrary to your values hence helping you maintain the right kind of friends that uphold similar values with you.
Peer Pressure has the power to either lead you astray or towards your desired destiny. It all depends on your ability to choose the kind of friends to hang around with. Your company defines your character.