WHAT IS PEER PRESSURE ?
defines peer pressures as the, “social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise, conform in order to be accepted”
Peer pressure is the ‘in thing’ to do what others are doing in a group, a class, an organization or at a social event. Why to oppose when it is easy to agree with and remain a part of the group or the class or the work place?
The positive peer pressure is good for us all. Anyone or a group of friends encourage us to come up in life, persuade us to stand first in the class, and the colleagues who are happy when we get promoted are some of the samples of the positive peer pressure.
Peer pressure, especially the negative one, is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient and can be found all across the society: the social networking sites, the share market, the advertisement and marketing world, the school, the college, the work place and some more. Most of us upload our photos to social networking sites not because we would like to do so, but because our friends would like us to do so; people sell shares in panic because others are doing so, things are advertised in the visual media by youngsters, compelling other youngsters to buy them…there’s no end to the negative peer pressure in the outside world.
Some positive tips to counter the negative effects of the peer pressure:-
- Acceptance: “What others will think of me” is the basic cause for the peer pressure. It happens when you long to get accepted by the others in the group and you are ready to do what your peers want you to do, whether it is for your good or otherwise. So obviously, breaking the pattern of thinking on acceptance by the others should be the first step in avoiding the peer pressure trap.
- Negative to Positive: The world is full of people. You may slowly withdraw from the negative group and gradually become a part of a positive group that would encourage you to do things that are good for your future, career and relationship.
- Distract: Sometimes, it’s not easy to switch groups or put your foot down on the negative peer pressure. In that case, while there is a discussion on your doing something against your wishes, you change the subject and draw their interest into an another interesting subject, dial a number and while on the phone, take leave from your group and walk away from there
- Self-Confidence: Show self-confidence and be assertive if it is your known group. If it is a new group of people, in a party or social gathering, you better leave quickly with a valid excuse.
- Don’t Condemn: Do not condemn others if they force you to do something which you don’t want to do. It may turn out to be an unpleasant scene. Use humour and common sense, use one liners to distract their attention and walk off in a short while.
- Understand your children: Be a friend and a good listener to your children. Even if they feel neglected by their group for having said no to cigars, drugs and alcohol, or for any other wrong doings, they will turn towards you for comfort.
- Become Approachable: Form a group of your own with your family and indulge in a variety of activities, like picnicking, trekking, watching movies, shopping, having dinners at restaurants, watching opera or visiting museums etc. which will bound them to you and will make them feel comfortable to talk to you on their problems and issues.
- Family Time: Make the dinner time for sharing about the happenings in your day. When you open up to your family and share with them your details, they will be encouraged to do so on their own. You shall be able to guide them on any wrong turns.
- Learn to Distinguish: “Having fun” or “Being cool” does not mean doing reckless things or things that may ruin your future just because your friends or group would like you to do so. Always be on the alert on the pitfalls of groupies or friendship. You may get any number of friends; it may take you a long time to get your life back on the rails if you do something reckless with your life, career, relationship or the works.
Q . Sometimes, what my friends want me to do is not agreeable to me, but still I do it, just to satisfy them or just to make them to feel good. But, I am not happy under such circumstances. What should I do?
This is precisely what the peer pressure is all about. Instead of thinking about satisfying your friendship, you should start thinking about satisfying your needs, maintaining your self esteem, growth factor in your future and the right turn in your life.
Q . How negative peer pressure will affect my life?
The decisions you take in your life, whether willingly or under pressure, has got a way of affecting your entire life. At some point of time in your life, you should start thinking about what works good for you, rather than what works good for your friends or group. Show self confidence, don’t do something which you don’t want to do and take the support of your family and good friends who had always stood by you.
Peer pressure is nothing but the knack of sailing with the wind and not turning against the wind. It’s time we should know how to curtail the advancement of others on our psyche. For everything, there is a new beginning and let your beginning be now!
It’s better to take guidance from what Steve Maraboli says:
“At any given point you can release your greatest self. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t let anyone dilute you. Don’t be peer pressured into being less than you are. People willing to dilute themselves for the sake of others are one of the great tragedies of our time. Stop letting others define and set the pace for your life. Get out there and be your best. Do your best. Live your best. Make every day count and you’ll see how exponentially more exciting, thrilling, successful, happy and full your life will be.”