Friendship plays a pivotal role when we are young, we have a strong need to please friends. This contains the seeds of the peer pressure that our teachers and parents and writers spend so much time discussing. They see it as a force being exerted by friends to make and behave in a particular manner.
This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it just means that we are settling into the environment we live in and learning to behave like others around us so that we won’t seem like aliens from some other planet.
It’s when peer pressure forces us to go against our own inclinations and instincts then it becomes unhealthy.
The herd mentality
How do we fall under peer pressure?
As a child and a young adult, we particularly are susceptible to wanting to look, think, and act like people our age. In the field of marketing and advertising, professionals know this, and they cleverly use it to create sweeping ‘fads’ for all kinds of things. They have discovered that peer pressure works because people seem to have the urge to do exactly what everyone else is doing.
1. A need for approval and acceptance.
Being accepted, seen as ‘okay’, ‘fine’ or ‘cool’ by our friends seems very important for us. This need for approval makes us accept most of the standards set by people of our age, of by the influence of media without too much questioning.
2. A fear of isolation.
There’s a certain age, just before adolescence, when most of us are still getting over our childhood fears. Fear of the dark, fear of punishment, and fear of being alone are natural fears when we are small and still growing up. This is the time when fear has its most potent effect on our personality, we give in to the standards of the group and we enter in because we do not want to be lonely or isolated from the group. Not wanting to miss out on anything. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the programs we see, the ‘cool’ and ‘daring’ habits we pick put can sometimes be dangerous.
3. Peer Pressure us from Developing Self-Confidence.
Just think, do you want to be the type of person who always needs a friend even to do petty tasks? How will you manage anything now and in the future if you haven’t developed enough self-confidence even to do simple tasks? If peer pressure is interfering with your growth as an independent person which also affects the personality. Resist these kinds of things.
4. Say NO Guilt-free.
Don’t hesitate the use the word without overthinking what might your friends think. No should always mean no. No shouldn’t mean maybe. And it’s ok to be unsure. But when they are unsure, they should be prepared to say, “I don’t know,” or “Maybe,” or “I need to think about it.” As soon as they are uncomfortable, it is important to be clear and firm that the solution is not any. It is not up for negotiation. Your teens should state their position clearly in a non-negotiable, but also non-confrontational, way. They might say, “No. Thanks. Not into it.”
5. Follow your heart.
While it’s always necessary to follow your heart but sometimes we might feel lost or no idea what to do. Then it’s ok to ask for support and advice from friends whom you think are positive and will actually listen to you. Don’t go around and ask advice from people who start off with a negative note and always end up making you feel small or incompetent. They will let you down by saying this is the right thing for you to do and gives you examples for their failures. “stay away from them”
Making good mates is vital, but sometimes trying to suit in with a gaggle can turn sour. Giving in to pressure from your friends to try something you normally wouldn’t do can leave you feeling guilty, regretful, ashamed, embarrassed, or maybe frightened.