By: Aditi Raju
All of us are surrounded by our peers. Whether they are your friends or simply acquaintances, most of the people that you surround yourselves with tend to have an impact on you. This ‘influence’ that other children around your age may have on you is termed as peer pressure.
The popular phrase, “if all your friends were going to jump off a bridge, would you jump too?” perfectly portrays what peer pressure is. The youth, especially, face several instances in which peers expect them to act a certain way. Whether it is dressing in a certain manner or abusing substances, peer pressure can take a variety of forms - all of which impact the victim.
Although there are cases in which positive peer pressure is present, the negative consequences overshadow the positive. Thus, it is vital to always be prepared to face such pressure.
Firstly, always remember to listen to your gut instinct. If you feel uneasy about a situation, it probably isn’t right for you and it’s best to immediately remove yourself from it. If this doesn’t work, try talking to the peer who is pressuring you. Talking things out is extremely effective: always let your peer know if their actions make you upset.
However, if you feel uncomfortable about approaching your peer, talk to a trusted adult about your issues. Whether it’s the school counselor or a parent, adults have the abilities to aid you in formulating proper ways in which you can address your situation.
Lastly, always remember to look out for any red flags when you are with your peers. The best way to deal with peer pressure is to ensure that it never even occurs. Although it may be difficult to spot at first, pay attention to what your peer does and how they make you feel. If you begin to notice that your peer makes you uncomfortable or encourages poor behaviour, it may be time to let go of them.
It’s most definitely tough to stand up to a peer and say “no,” however, remember that the longer they continue to influence you, the worse your behaviour becomes. You’re not alone, and ridding yourself of negative peers in your life will always make you feel better.
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