Peer pressure is an unfortunate experience as old as time itself; that has started hundreds upon thousands of bad decisions, resulted in regretted tattoos and achieved a lot of parental annoyance. Not to mention, being peer pressured feels absolutely awful.
What started out at a bit of craic can quickly become something more and you’ve suddenly found yourself being pressured into doing something, like drinking, that you don’t really want to do.
It might feel like a rite of passage, but here are a few pointers on how to handle and dodge some peer pressure.
Know the difference between encouragement and peer pressure.
There is a very significant difference between peer pressure and encouragement, and you need to be able to differentiate the two.
It’s like telling the difference between good pain and bad pain; there is a good nervous and a bad nervous. The good nervous has you excited and has some butterflies in your stomach. The bad nervous has you shaky and worried and feels like someone is dancing on your chest with really heavy boots. Knowing which is which can be helpful in making informed decisions on what you should do.
Hang around with people who will understand your decisions.
When you decide ‘No I am not doing that’ that is a decision you’ve taken upon yourself and if whoever is around you calls you ‘dry’ or ‘scared’ then you probably shouldn’t be around them.
Try find people who’ll be supportive rather than put you down. Being around people like this will reduce peer pressure to the max.
People who try pressure you into do things that you don’t want to do are not your true friends.
If number 2 isn’t an option for you then try have some excuses ready if you are being peer pressured and you don’t want to be seen as the only one not doing it. Blaming things that would be out of your control is a good way to avoid the awkward situations. Things like annoying parents needing you home or work are great way to get out of those situations; things other can relate to.
Be true to yourself.
It’s not easy, but try to stay true to your likes, dislikes and values. We all meet people along the way who try pressure us into things that we don’t agree with. Knowing yourself and what you are willing to do and don’t do is an important lesson in growing up.
Read More: Top Tips For Staying True To Yourself
Remember, only do it if you are comfortable.
Remember people tend to forget and move on from things very quickly. If you say no to something chances are the people pressuring you will get bored and move on, very fast. So try no to stress.
Ultimately, peer pressure sucks. Everyone has felt it in small and big ways, unfortunately. If there’s someone in your life bringing in a negative attitude it really is time to start taking steps to avoid them.
If you are experiencing bullying, please reach out to a trusted adult. Or if you need to talk in confidence please do contact Childline.