The need to fit in and be part of a group is common particularly in the adolescent and young adult years. Peer pressure is that feeling that you have to do something to fit in, be accepted or be respected. It can be tough to deal with friends telling you what to do for example friends teasing around about you not taking shots at a party. Peer pressure can be useful sometimes but it’s essential to reflect on your own personal values. Handling peer pressure is usually not that challenging at times for example noticing that your drinking habit is more extreme than your friends’ and deciding to stop or reduce.
curbing peer pressure can be challenging, if you are only encircled by people whose values, preferences, and behaviors are similar to yours. In a college environment you will meet people with a wide variety of attitudes and behaviors and Sometimes it may feel easy to know where you stand and act consequently, other times an individual can feel confused, stressed and interested to act in opposition of their judgment.
For those that have experienced life in college know that it is a time when you are away from home with more freedom to make your own decisions, with the desire to do things your family doesn’t consider to be morally upright as a way of establishing your own identity at school and trying new things so that you appear to be cool around your friends. It is important to reflect on what you think is important, your values, and who you want to be, thinking ahead of probable penalties of certain doings. Going with the multitude and doing something you might not have considered before.
Ask yourself these questions, could there be a negative outcome? Would I feel bad for acting against your values or judgment? Pressures around alcohol and other drug use are some of the things that most students miscalculate as to how many of their peer’s drink or use drugs. The truth is that many fewer college students drink or use drugs than people assume. It is similar with sex and hooking up most students have a twisted idea of what others are doing. Knowing the facts can help you to resist pressures on the idea that “everyone is doing it”, this can be hard to accept, but it helps to try. When faced with indirect pressure to do something you’re not sure about, try using the following strategies:
- Give yourself permission to avoid people or situations that don’t feel right and leave a situation that becomes uncomfortable.Work on setting boundaries. It is safe to do what is best for you.
- Spend time with people who respect your decisions and won’t put unfair pressure on you to conform
- Avoid a pressure-filled situation and people or situations that make you feel pressured
- Give yourself time to think about your decision instead of giving an immediate answer. let them know what your intentions are for example I don’t want to drink, so if you see me about to, remind me that I wanted to stay sober. When you can’t avoid or delay a pressure-filled situation, practice saying if it feels uncomfortable, practice using other kind responses. Remember that you cannot please everyone or be liked by Its proper to use an excuse if the truth is too challenging. For example, if someone offers you a drink and you want to say no but feel awkward, say you’re on medication or have to get up early the next day.
- Stand up for others when you see them being pressured. Stepping in to help out when you see someone in trouble can be an effective way to support others and send a message. If you don’t feel comfortable directly confronting the person doing the pressuring, try distracting them or inviting the person being pressured to do something else.