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Have you ever done something because your friends were doing it? Or did you notice your behaviour gradually changing after involving yourself with new companions? Whether you realise it or not, the people you surround yourself with can affect your way of acting. Such an experience is called peer pressure. This influence can be either directly or indirectly exerted onto us by a group of friends to adopt different behaviours; these influences may be good or bad. Being young and impressionable makes us feel that we need to conform to the behaviours of others. The reasons are varied but most commonly because we want to fit in and belong in that respective circle. So, ask yourself, are you experiencing negative or positive peer pressure?
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Negative peer pressure involves influence that leads to negative effects on a person. It is commonly known to incorporate more severe habits. Some prominent examples are smoking, ditching school, consuming drugs and abusing alcohol. Individuals who are regularly surrounded by peers with these habits will most likely feel pressured to succumb to them. However, any act at all that brings discomfort, guilt and hesitancy can be considered as a negative peer pressure too.
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On the other hand, positive peer pressure involves the influence to carry out positive behaviours. A prime example would be feeling pressured by peers to avoid smoking cigarettes. Although the word pressure is usually associated with force, positive peer pressure comes in the form of encouragement. This usually results in a positive change in an individual. Therefore, being in an environment where most people practice healthy behaviours can encourage individuals to practice the same.
Still, what happens if you are on the same wavelength as friends who practice unhealthy habits? Of course, we get along with them because of their engaging personalities and good company, and we want to keep those friendships that we appreciate. Cutting ties with friends who have been by your side for the longest time is not easy. They are the ones you spend time with, comfort you and help you. Some may even be childhood friends that you care about. So, how do you remain friends but not succumb to negative peer pressures?
Have a strong self-confidence
According to Entrepreneur, there are ways for you to have a good sense of self-confidence. Self-confidence may help prevent you from feeling intimidated by the actions of your peers. This way, you would not feel the need to impress them and give in to their influence. Moreover, it will ensure you follow your heart and stick to your moral principles when making choices.
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Always think twice
Before doing anything, it is essential to think about the consequences of our actions. You need to identify whether your actions may harm you or hurt the ones who care for you. Ask yourself, “why would I want to do this?” to think far ahead. If it brings you no benefit, do not do it.
Communicate your reasons
You need to know how to communicate with your friends without offending them. When refusing, your tone of voice should be casual and light. However, be firm too so that the message gets across effectively. You may even consider adding a slight bit of humour to avoid any tension. An article by EduAdvisor can show you a few creative ways to reject negative peer pressure.
So, why must we identify negative and positive peer pressure around us? Well, simply put, we naturally shape our behaviours based on our peers. It is part of growing and maturing. By identifying different peer pressures allow us to make wiser choices. We can select friends with healthier habits and avoid regretful decisions that could potentially put our health, wellbeing or safety at risk. By knowing how to set our personal boundaries, we can socialise with anyone while having control over our own actions.
by Adreanna Azmi