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Social Strength - Resisting Peer Pressure

By: Joanna Lopez Miranda

Peer Pressure:

Peer Pressure is related to the influence that peers, or those around us, have on an individual. People can be influenced by either friends or simply their own classmates. It is most often related to and often impacts adolescents and teenagers. It can be viewed in both a positive and negative way, but most times it involves teenagers doing things they might not often do or otherwise not with their own will. The word “pressure” can also be interpreted straightforwardly as an individual might feel the pressure to do something in order to feel accepted or liked by their friends, maybe even just another group of people they’re often around. But fortunately there are ways that teens can resist peer pressure and the influence that others have on them, especially if it is disadvantageous.

Examples of Peer Pressure: 

There are several situations that reflect peer pressure but these are some of the most associated ones among teens and of which are mainly negative examples that people may struggle in resisting; 

  • Being forced or encouraged to use drugs or alcohol

  • Shoplifting or stealing from stores and/or people

  • Skipping school or cutting class

  • Dressing in a certain way or one that matches with those around you

  • Engaging in any form of bullying or unfriending people because you’re told to

Ways to Resist Peer Pressure: 

  1. Say No

The most common way to resist peer pressure would be to say No, but even though it may sound simple it can be tough especially if it’s to your friends. You may feel afraid of being judged by your friend or even fear that they won’t be your friend anymore, but it’s also most important to avoid doing something against your own will or because of the pressure one may feel. There are several ways of saying no such as giving a confident and straightforward no, providing a line of reasoning to the no, and in some cases humor might even make the no more efficient. Though humor might not seem like the most obvious use, it can bring the tension of the atmosphere more down and lessen the seriousness. It can even make the whole situation appear to be a joke or something not as serious, such as being offered some sort of substance which they might think is cool (of course, it’s not), but by using humor you’d degrade the actions into something not as cool as they thought it was. Providing a line of reasoning to your no can also make your refusal to something more convincing and understandable for others, especially if you know what’s right for you. 

  1. Expand your Social Network

Expanding your social network would essentially mean to expand your social group and meet newer and more people. It not only gives you a chance to meet different people, but it also makes sure that you’re not only around the same people constantly, especially if certain peers may negatively influence you. In situations involving negative peer pressure, it can also allow you to have other people you can turn to or go to as a way to avoid doing something you may not like. Additionally, if certain friendships may not go as planned as a result, then it’d be nice to have other trustworthy friendships to rely on. Remember to always find positive influences and trustworthy people. 

  1. Walking Away

Avoiding the situation as a whole is another great option in resisting peer pressure especially if what you’re being pressured into is not good. By choosing to walk away, you avoid the dangerous risks that some actions may have. Walking away is also best after your repetitive no’s have not worked and you continue being pressured into something. After walking away and avoiding the situation, seek help or support from another trusted friend or adult. 

  1. Be Yourself!

By knowing who you are and what you value, you learn to do things for the benefit of yourself and not for others. Work towards accomplishing your own goals and not the goals of another group of people. You do not have to be like everyone else to ‘fit in’ especially if ‘fitting in’ will change you as a person. You should always value yourself before others and do what you believe is right and not wrong.

Overall, the act of resisting peer pressure and avoiding the negative influence of others may be difficult, but remember to always think for yourself before thinking of others, especially the negative influences. Be direct and firm when you know something is wrong and you do not want to take part in that action. If firm is not your vibe, then you can even consider joking around to avoid that situation as well. But if your no’s do not work, then know that you always have the option to walk away, don’t feel pressure in having to stay in an uncomfortable situation. Instead, turn to trustworthy friends and positive influences. But most importantly, value your own self and what you believe in. Remember that the most important love is self-love and that you should be you for you. You do not have to completely change yourself or do something you know is wrong in order to feel accepted by your friends. If you do feel this happens though, seek better friendship and trustworthy people. But remember, be yourself!


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