So let’s talk about this thing called peer pressure. Peers, like it or not, they influence your life. Even if you don’t realize it, you are influenced by them. Just by spending a decent amount of time with them, you learn from them, and they learn from you. It’s called human nature to listen and to learn from other people.
Peers, they can have a positive influence on each other. Let’s say some student in your Macroeconomics class taught you an easy way to remember how the demand and supply system works or someone on the soccer team taught you a cool trick with the ball. You might admire them and try to be more like him or her. And let’s talk about the time you got others excited about your new favorite book, and now everyone's reading it… Yeah, these are just clear examples of how peers positively influence each other every day.
And you know how they say everything has a good and bad side? Well, sometimes peers can influence each other in negative ways too. Like this scenario here, a few kids in school might try to get you to cut class with them, your soccer friend might try to convince you to be mean to another player and never pass her the ball, or a kid in the neighborhood might want you to shoplift with him.
So why is that some of us give in to peer pressure? Do you sometimes feel yourself giving in to peer pressure because you want to be liked? To fit in? Or is it because you worry that the ‘cool’ kids might make fun of you if you don't go along with the group? Yes, true. Some of them may just go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. But that doesn’t mean what everything the ‘cool’ kids are doing, are cool. The idea that "everyone's doing it" can influence some people to leave their better judgment, or their common sense, behind.
Without a doubt, it’s tough to be the only one who says "no" to peer pressure all the time, but hey, if you don’t say it, then who will for you? Perhaps it’s time to start paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong rather than what other people perceive you to be. And that may probably be the best thing that can help you know the right thing to do. Self-esteem and self-confidence don’t come from others, that’s why they have the word ‘self’ there. Only when you have enough inner strength, you can stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when you know better.
Though it can really help to have at least one other peer, or friend, who is willing to say "no," too. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it much easier to resist. It's great to have friends with values similar to yours who will back you up when you don't want to do something. You've probably had a parent or teacher advising you to "choose your friends wisely." Believe me, they meant what they said. Peer pressure is a big reason why they say this. If you choose friends who don't use drugs, cheat during exams, or constantly lie to their parents, then you probably won't do these things either, even if other kids do.
In other words, try to help a friend who's having trouble resisting peer pressure. It can be powerful for one person to join another by simply saying, "I'm with you — let's go."
By Serena Lynn