Negative Peer Pressure
The Risks of Peer Pressure
How many of you have experienced peer pressure in your lives? I know that I have. This doesn't necessarily have to be limited to drugs or money. I'm talking about someone going to their wit's end to persuade you to do something that you don't want to do. It can be minor or major.
Whether you are guilty of either succumbing to peer pressure or causing it yourself, this is not an article that is meant to criticize you or make you feel uncomfortable. Let me just make that clear. Believe me, everyone peer pressures someone to do something at one point or another in their lifetime. I don't have a problem with peer pressure when it comes to something minor like talking to someone you have a crush on or riding something in an amusement park that doesn't pique your interest.
I have a problem with peer pressure that has the power to change your life in a negative way.
Take a look at the examples below. Many of us can either say that we’ve heard these statements, or something similar to them.
"Come on man, stop being a (insert vulgar language here)."
"It's just one time, you don't have to do it again if you don't want to."
"Fight him, bro! Don't be no (insert vulgar language here)."
"Aw, man, you're only sneaking out of the house. It's not like your folks are going to notice you anyway."
When your friends, or whoever it may be in your life, encourage you to do things that you don't want to do, then I say stick with your gut. What's the worst that could happen if you don't listen to them versus you listening to them when it comes to decisions like this? If you stick with your gut, they can talk all they want. They're going to eventually give up once they realize that you're standing your ground. That's a fact. A true friend will not lose any respect for you if you think that you made the best decision for yourself and your well-being. If they do, well congrats. You just gained the knowledge that this person may not be as close to you as you think.
Meanwhile, if you listen to them, you are at risk to reap the consequences of the choice that you made because of their temptation. In life, a good person that does something out of character is the first one to be in trouble if something goes down. It never fails. Where if you make one wrong move, one misstep, you will never hear the end of it. Giving in to whoever is egging you on ends up doing nothing for you, other than give your short-term distress and adrenaline. That adrenaline that you have isn't good, it's there because you know that you're doing something that you have no business being a part of. That's the number one sign that you should stop and really think about whatever it is you've been asked to do.
It's Okay to Say 'No'
I'm not going to make this any more complicated than it has to be. Peer pressure is a think-before-you-act decision. Most of us don't think because we're caught in the moment. We were caught in the moment from the point we looked at ourselves in the mirror and our reflection shook its head and walked away. I use this analogy because in that moment we are not being ourselves. We abandon our subconscious, our complete ways of thinking, to please someone else. There is nothing to gain by doing this if it means that we abandon our own morals, choices, and nature in order to satisfy them. If they desire something that you are not willing to do, leave them alone and find someone else.
Am I asking you to leave your friends and find other friends because of those peer pressuring decisions? No. I am not asking you to completely stop being friends with those people because you each share personal connections with your friends that I won’t interfere with because I don’t share that with those people. I’m asking you to make the right decision for yourself and your future. If that means leaving your friends, then so be it. Life isn’t about pleasing everyone else, it’s about making the best life for yourself. It’s okay to say ‘no’.
I encourage you to make the right choices and to stray away from the ones that can cause harm to yourself or someone else. Stay away from negative influences.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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