Peer pressure is a concept we all know too well. From primary school the concept of peer pressure and how to deal with peer pressure is sung and debated deep into our self-conscious, still, years later we fall prey to the beast. It is impossible to forget the definition of peer pressure from the numerous peer pressure essays we all had to right back then. The effects of peer pressure are way bigger than you can imagine. Always tagged as synonymous to peer influence, it can be defined as is the direct influence on people by peers. In the course of peer pressure, individuals are encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviours to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. Though there are numerous types of peer pressure, the concept is most times associated with the negative as pressure is not a positive word given the context. Pressure connotes coercion or force. The emphasis with regards to peer pressure is on children with numerous studies to show for it. However, peer pressure transcends children and adolescents, young adults and the old are also experience peer pressure, it is just not as direct as that of children. Peer pressure has also gone beyond face-to-face interactions, it is digital too. Social media is the latest and houses the biggest pressure group in the world. Online ridiculous social standards are set by the media and are reinforced by social media influencers onto the public. Social influencers are infamously famous individuals who by online persona have gained a large following and have the power to influence the thoughts of others. In different ways, different people, both young and old experience peer pressure. There are different situations in which you can be and feel pressured. You are being pressured when an individual or a group tries to convince you to do something that can get you into trouble and you are afraid they won’t like you if you refuse. You are being pressured if you’re encouraged to go against your values. You are being pressured when you feel the need to live a lifestyle you cannot afford just to feel accepted in a social circle. You are also being pressured if you feel the need to hide the fact that you can afford certain luxuries because your friends can’t and will judge you. Trust me when I say you are being pressured when you feel the need to buy every single aso ebi you can’t afford to have so you are respected in your clique. Just as you can be pressured in a different way, there are also numerous ways to deal with peer pressure.
Here are 10 ways to deal with peer pressure.
Recognise peer pressure
Recognising peer pressure is the first step of dealing it with. This is because you cannot beat what you do not understand. When you understand the concept of peer pressure you can then device means by which you will combat the various pressures you experience daily. You will also be able to identify the various media through which this pressure can be experienced in the future so as to avoid them and educate others.
Build your self-confidence
The level of influence peer pressure will have on you is dependent on your level of self-confidence. One who is highly self-confident will display the littlest effect of peer pressure as such people are hard to influence. An insecure person who seeks validation from others before himself/herself would be the prey of pressure groups. It is important to build your self-confidence by believing in your person and loving that person as this is your immune system that will fight against negative pressure.
Learn to say ‘No thanks’
A lot of the times when people give in to doing things they do not wish to do or do not agree with, it is because they do not know how to say no. You might know how to say no but you fear it may sound rude or harsh and your friends won’t like you, well, it doesn’t matter. There are polite ways to say no, you simply say ‘No, thank you.’ Learn to say that phrase and enjoy your freedom.
Remove yourself from the situation
At times the best way to boycott peer pressure is to remove yourself from the situation. You can only be pressured when you make yourself available to be pressured. When you feel you’re being pressured, remove yourself from the pressure zone. If it is through face-to-face conversation, politely excuse yourself from the conversation. If you have a toxic friend, speak your mind and keep your distance. If you are being pressured online, log out, exit said group chats, end said chats, block said contacts and mute said accounts online to avoid further pressure.
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or moral uprightness. Integrity is the biggest shield from peer pressure that you will find. Part of what causes peer pressure is the need to have other minds mirror or share your thoughts and values because there is strength in numbers. Integrity is hinged on morals and there are no definite moral standards as morals vary with individual differences. You can say integrity requires that you are true to yourself. Stay true to who you are, and peer pressure will run away from you.
Talk about it with someone you trust
When dealing with peer pressure, people sometimes need encouragement from a third party, a form of support. They need someone else to share their thoughts just to certify that they are not wrong or crazy. It is ideal to talk to someone you trust and is mature. That person will reassure your thoughts, values and will set you on the right path.
No man is an island. Combatting peer pressure is a lot harder if you’re alone with your thoughts. Befriending someone who shares the same or similar moral values as you will enable you to deal with peer pressure easier than you would, alone. Together, you will be able to back each other up and never feel alone.
Consider the results
Before engaging in an action, it is only wise to consider the cost and results. If the outcome is negative, then it advised that you do not engage in it. If the outcome is positive, it is okay. However, most situations result in both positive and negative possible outcomes, if the long run is negative and it outweighs the positive, turn the other cheek and abstain. Next time you feel pressured to do something, consider the results.
Do not pressure others
It is easy to deal with peer pressure when you do not pressure others. What you do to others will also be done unto you. Only a pressured person feels the need to pressure their peers. This is because they feel the need to uphold a certain image so as to be perceived a certain way by their peers and they shape the perception of their peers by pressuring them into a uniform thought train. Peer pressure is just one big cycle.
One final way to deal with peer pressure is to speak out. Once you speak out you are empowered. Speaking out dispels ignorance and wakes the consciousness of other minds. By speaking out you will consciously set the tone for interactions. Your mind, as well as the minds of those around you, will become conscious of the issue that is peer pressure and begin their silent fight against it.