The Impact of Peer Pressure

Have you ever said or done something just because other people have told you to, even if you didn’t want to?

When you think of peer pressure, you probably think of the kind that deals with drugs and alcohol, and although serious, those aren’t the only things your peers will try to get you to try.

Peer pressure is constantly around us and may influence us, even if we don’t realize it. Some forms of peer pressure aren’t so obvious.

Some kinds of peer pressure are implied rather than spoken out loud. Just being in a certain environment, such as one in which people are drinking or smoking, can pressure you to do something, even if no one directly asks you to do it.

And then, of course, there’s direct peer pressure, where your peers will put the attention on you and your decision by handing you something you don’t want to try or saying “Just try it,” and other similar phrases in an attempt to persuade you.

It can be especially difficult not to give into peer pressure if the peers in question are your friends. And if it’s a big group of friends, you may feel like you need to do whatever it is that they want you to do because everyone else is.

Why do we feel this way? Well, the most common reason is because we want to fit in, we want to look cool, and we don’t want to be judged for being the only one who’s not doing what others are doing.

Believe it or not, not all peer pressure is bad. Sometimes your peers could be encouraging you to do something good that will benefit you.

Perhaps a friend is attempting to get you out of the house if you’ve done nothing but stay in all week, or tries to convince you to take better care of yourself. Maybe your parents are trying to convince you to take a certain opportunity so you won’t regret it later.

Ways to Help Prevent Giving Into Negative Peer Pressure

  • The first thing you can rely on is your own gut feeling to tell you whether you’re comfortable in a situation. And if you’re not comfortable with the things other people are pushing you to do, then walk away from the situation.
  • Think about it. If your friends are asking you to try something potentially dangerous or harmful to you, are they really your friends?
  • Another way to avoid giving in is to get yourself to say no, even if it’s difficult because of the pressure you’re under. However, you need to make your boundaries clear, and if your peers continue to pressure you, stop hanging out with them altogether. 
  • A great way to avoid peer pressure is to surround yourself with people you know and trust, especially if they feel the same way about certain things as you do.