Your peers are people of your own age and social group. Peers include friends, classmates, coworkers, and neighbors. Applying pressure means putting influence on people to make them change how they behave and relate to others.
If you experience peer pressure, you might feel like you have to change how you act, dress, talk, and live so you ‘fit in’ more with your peers.
Many teens say that they have done something that goes against their own values because of peer pressure from their friends – they do what the group is doing because they don’t want to be left out. Does that sound like something you’ve done?
Peer pressure can be good because it can motivate you to be your best. For example, in a sports group you might feel peer pressure to practice hard and play well. This is good peer pressure because it can help you live healthy.
But, peer pressure can also be bad because it can bring you down from being your best. For example, your peers might pressure you to drink too much alcohol when you would rather not because you feel awful when you drink it and hate being drunk. Negative peer pressure can also tell you that you ‘aren’t good enough’.
You can say no to peer pressure! Enjoying your teen years is important, and they’re a great time to figure out who you are – not who you are told to be.
Ask yourself some questions to find out if you’re influenced by peer pressure:
- Do I have friends that influence how I think?
- Are these influences positive (good) or negative (bad)?
- Do I do things because of peer pressure? Do I do things when I don’t want to do them?
- What kind of things are they?
- Do I want to stop being affected by peer pressure?
What if you are part of peer pressuring other people? Ask yourself some questions:
- Do I make fun of someone because they aren’t doing the ‘normal’ thing? Why?
- Do I act differently when I’m with my friends than when I’m at home?
- Do I peer pressure people to try to impress my friends?
- Is that the kind of person I want to be?
You can avoid negative peer pressure, and you don’t have to pressure other people. Remember that individuality is a special thing – encourage your friends and yourself to figure out who you are and what you want out of life.
Remember that you are important. Your life counts, and you can make a difference in this world. If you ever need to talk about this or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re here for you.