Have you ever done something just because other people are doing it? That is peer pressure and most people have been affected by it. It is hard making decisions but peer pressure makes things even harder. Your peers influence you and you influence them even without your knowledge. How you respond to it is what matters.
Young people worry about fitting in with others especially their peers. Your peers may proactively influence you to behave in a certain way. You may also find yourself copying what they do so you can fit in and get their approval. Just like everything else, there is positive and negative peer pressure.
Positive peer pressure includes the following:
- Where you are introduced to positive activities and hobbies.
- Where positive attitudes and habits are reinforced.
- Where you get an increase in self-confidence.
- Where you get the support you need to feel like you belong there.
Negative peer pressure involves the following:
- Where you are pressured to use alcohol, drugs and engage in substance abuse.
- Where you are pressured to take part in risky behavior.
- Where you engage in activities that affect your schoolwork including skiving classes and being rowdy in class.
- Where you are made to rebel against your family and friends to fit in.
- Where you develop bad habits and attitudes.
Peer pressure is not necessarily bad. There are good things that can come from peer pressure. Keep reading more to learn the good things that can come from peer pressure.
- Good friendships
You can develop good friendships with your peers that will help you progress in life. The peers can help you to be focused since they are also focused. They can also help you become a better person since you can adopt some of their qualities.
- Positive criticism
If you are surrounded by good company, they will give you advice when they see you going in the wrong direction. They can listen and give you ideas or help you modify your idea so as to get the best results. You will also learn how to argue and accept criticism positively.
- You get to socialize and expand your knowledge.
With new friends, you have a chance to socialize with different people. You learn how to see things from their perspective and get the chance to try new opportunities.
Since your friends lead different lives, you get to experience life from their perspective and learn from them. You will also know what you like and don’t like from other people and can decide who you want to be around and who you want to stay away.
- New experiences
Your peers have different experiences they will share with you. This will broaden your mind as you learn about them. You will be tempted to take place in some activities and there are some you will not want to interact with. You will be encouraged to try new things and get out of the box. You might find your hidden talents through your experiences.
How to cope with peer pressure
Everyone finds themselves in a situation where they are under a lot of peer pressure. How you respond to these situations is what is important. This is what you can do if you find yourself in that situation:
- Pay attention to your instincts. Even if your friends are telling you doing something is okay, if your gut feeling says it is wrong then do not do it. This will help you have more confidence and be assertive in your decision making.
- Think ahead depending on the situation. If you are planning to go for a party, you already know you will be tempted to take alcohol or drugs. How will you respond? You need to think about these situations and learn a few tricks to get out of the pickle.
It is not always easy to resist peer pressure. However, how you approach the situation will determine if you emerge a winner or loser. You need to be comfortable saying “No” and ask for help if the pressure is too much. To make things easier, you need to keep company with people who understand you. You do not need to explain to your friends the reason for saying “No” to things you consider bad. Sometimes you have to be the one who speaks out to change a bad situation.