What is Peer Pressure, and How to Handle It?
Now, who does not wish to be like their friends? All of us, while growing up, consistently try to imitate our peers in more ways than one. Most often our choices are influenced by our core group of friends.This is because we want to ‘fit in’ and feel ‘belonged’ and ‘accepted’. However, this ‘influence’ can turn into ‘pressure’, and before we know it, we end up becoming victims of what is known as ‘peer pressure’. Now, how do we handle peer pressure without affecting our friendship? We give you some tips to deal with it.
What is peer pressure?
What is the meaning of peer pressure in reality? In simple terms, peer pressure means when your friends influence you to take certain actions or act in a particular manner. This action is usually veered at making you look and sound ‘cool’ and ‘fit in’ with the group. Behaving in a certain way also gives you a ‘high’ while making you feel ‘important’. And, being accepted by our peers is an integral part of our lives throughout our adolescence. However, did you know that this ‘peer pressure’ has two sides?
- Positive peer pressure
- Negative peer pressure
Positive peer pressure, as the term explains, is something that benefits you. Some friends inspire you to do well in your studies through their habits. Following them or having a peer as a role model will inculcate good habits and behaviour. Their influence will help you focus on academics, make strategic plans and chart out a course in life. A positive influence will help you in making the right and good decisions as well.
Negative pressure from your peers, on the other hand, takes away the focus from your studies. It is damaging to your self-esteem and confidence and can seriously impact your academic performance. It can also hamper your relationship with your family and the people close to you. Compelling you to indulge in harmful and delinquent activities is always detrimental to your mental and even physical well-being. You can lose focus and enthusiasm about life itself, and this kind of pressure can even result in serious anxiety and stress issues.
There is another aspect of peer pressure, and that is direct or indirect peer pressure.
Direct pressure means that your peers are directly telling you to act in a certain manner. For example, lying to your folks about your whereabouts. You may make them believe that you are staying back to study in a study group. But in reality, you are out with your peers or a movie. This can snowball into delinquent behaviour, and soon you will end up following every act your peers indulge in.
In a situation of indirect pressure, nothing is spoken or told. Instead, you are expected to accept and believe in the popular opinion of an individual or group. This person or group is usually an impressionable one. It is considered to be quite popular as well. And, you will be expected to follow the views and beliefs of this group to ‘fit in’. For example, behave or dress up in a certain way to be accepted in the group. In the process, you will end up ignoring your own opinions to be in this ‘group’. Eventually, this is detrimental to your progress and development.
So how do you deal with this peer pressure? Here are some pointers that will help you navigate this issue.
- Assess your feelings about some situations. Get a sense of what is right and wrong. Question yourself about it, and the answer will help you be firm in your decision.
- Be with people who engage in positive activities. Spend more time with them, and you will naturally be inclined to do the good and right things.
- Find a friend who will stand by you when you say ‘no’. This friend will eventually support you in everything and will be good for your health and well-being too.
- You too stand up for someone when you see them being pressurised. Approach this person and show your solidarity when they say ‘no’.
- Be honest and never lie to your parents about your whereabouts or what you were up to. Also, be truthful to them about such pressure and confide in them. They will always help.
- Walk away from such peers who try to influence you the wrong way. At the most, they may call you names, but it’s nothing compared to what it may cost you in the long run.
- Finally, practice, practice, practice, to say ‘no’. Turn down any suggestions that you know are unhealthy or wrong. This is tough but doable. Stay firm and turn away.
Peer pressure is every student’s reality in their student years. Nobody escapes it, and it can be tricky to deal with it too. However, follow our tips, and you are set to have a roller-coaster ride through your academic years!