All the ways how you can deal with peer pressure better

Peer pressure is as real as your existence on this planet. No matter how successful or how accomplished you are, there is always someone who’s better at something else. That one person is enough to make you feel like you lack something on that hard-earned list of achievements of yours.
It's not that simple to be the one who's not doing what everybody else is doing

Learning the ABCD’s of dealing with peer pressure is essential.

Peer pressure is as real as your existence on this planet. No matter how successful or how accomplished you are, there is always someone who’s better at something else. That one person is enough to make you feel like you lack something on that hard-earned list of achievements of yours.

As children, we all seek attention and validation. Even upon entering the bewildering door of adulthood, the urge to fit in is mind-boggling. Therefore, we often lose our individuality to peer pressure regardless of the age.

A Blue piece Among red Peers
Image: Low-key Feeling Like A Misfit Among Peers

What Is Peer Pressure?

Peer pressure is the process by which members of the same group persuade others in the group to engage in a behavior or activity that they would otherwise not engage in.

The word ‘peer’ originated from the Latin word ‘par’ which means on your level. Peer pressure is the feeling of obligation to do something because other people of your group are doing the same. Most probably something that you wouldn’t have done by yourself if not influenced.

The Intensity of Peer Pressure

There are zero alternatives to polishing your mindset. If you respond to peer pressure, you’ll be more distracted than ever. Even having the moon on the top of your palm will not suffice.

Of course, how your society operates plays a role in it. No, I’m not denying that. But how you react to it and keep yourself focused is the real game-changer here. 

Research by the University of Southern California discovered that when surrounded by peers, reward generally beats risk. Therefore, when you’re with your peers, you’ll do things that you normally would not, in order to gain peer support. The possibility of risk or contradiction with your principles will not sway you from your motivation

Identifying Peer Pressure

The human mind is nothing less than a complex maze. Thus, it’s important that you differentiate inspiration and pressure. Sometimes, when someone is not forcing you to do anything but you feel like a misfit among them, that’s a kind of peer pressure as well.

In this era of technology, we often see people losing their sense of self. In order to meet their urge to fit in, youngsters are losing what makes them unique. The all-savoring whirlpool of social media and ever-changing trends are making it difficult to mind your own business.

Therefore, knowing the types doesn’t harm anybody. Also, you can shed that skin of humbleness and stand up for yourself if you know when it is creeping in.

Types of Peer Pressure

If you think people telling you to do something that you don’t want to do is the only type of peer pressure, then you certainly need to know more. There are a number of ways peer pressure can creep into your life. It all varies in the way it was communicated.

For instance, sometimes you’ll realize you have this strong need to do something that collides with your values. And, sometimes it might just sound like a fun activity to do. Even sometimes you might feel the need to experience the thrill your peers are having.

You need to know the types if you want to understand dealing with peer pressure.

3 peers sitting together
Peer Pressure Can Be of Different Types

Spoken or Unspoken

This classification mainly holds the way of communication as a base.

  • Spoken Peer Pressure, which means one or more people asking another to engage in a kind of activity.
  • Unspoken Peer Pressure. It includes an individual getting introduced to other people’s actions, trends, or decisions and feeling the urge to do the same.

Direct or Indirect

The way of impact created by the communication is the basis of this classification.

  • Direct Peer Pressure is quite a challenging one. It can often feel heightened due to our personal discomfort with the context in which you are experiencing directly at the time.
  • Indirect Peer Pressure is apparently the less invasive one. But it knocks at the back of your mind relentlessly. Indirect peer pressure can alter your habits subtly but effectively.

Positive or Negative

The two kinds of peer pressures can be communicated directly or indirectly, in a spoken or unspoken manner. But these vary in the outcomes.

Two children climbing rocks
Image: Positive Peers Promote Growth
  • Positive peer pressure is experienced in one-on-one circumstances or in groups and leads to positive outcomes and healthier lifestyle choices.
  • Negative Peer Pressure can push people to do things conflicting with their morals. Engaging in such activities since others are doing it and it’s a way to fit in, mostly having not-so-pretty endings.

Dealing With Peer Pressure

Different age groups suffer from different stages and types of peer pressure. Even that toddler, who just happens to ask a lot of questions, might feel peer pressure when he’s told his cousin is better than him. So, the ways to deal with peer pressure will be different. 

Build a personality where people respect your boundaries and do not breach them easily. Gauge your surroundings, be in charge of your emotions. That too, in a way that even in your most fragile state your actions are within your control.

We’re no professionals here. However, here is a list roughly stating some possible solutions that might come in handy when you’re finding yourself lost.

Be Careful About Who You Call ‘Friends’

Your friends have the best for you in their hearts and respect your opinion. That being said, we’re talking about friends who share the same values as yours. Not those who are trying to talk you into something you know is not preferred by you. In that case, you gotta reconsider your choices in friendship.

Peers can cause you self doubt
Image: Choose Your Company Wisely

Don’t Let Yourself Get Fooled

First of all, if you think “everybody else is doing it”-then stop fooling yourself. Not ‘everyone’ is doing it.

Secondly, seek help. You’re not the only one that’s a misfit. Reassure yourself that you can’t be the only one in the world that’s missing out. (Although it would be pretty revolutionary to be the only one!)

Thirdly, find role models who excel at dealing with peer pressure and follow their hearts. Talking to them might work like a million-dollar lesson!

Keep Yourself Engaged

If you’re motivated to achieve your own goals, then you’re less likely to fall victim to peer pressure. Keep your eyes on your target and simply ignore whatever that’s happening around you.

Be Self-Aware

You’re only a human. It’s very natural that emotions will control you once in a while. That can even blur your judgment. Be aware of the times when you’re feeling vulnerable and prone to making mistakes. Try to be extra careful at those times to protect your sensibility.

Consider the Consequences

If you find yourself losing grip over yourself and giving in, then pause. Use that brain inside your skull and rethink. Imagine what possible outcomes are there. Gauge how many of them are long-term and how impactful they are. If you have an active conscience, this should help.

Say ‘No’ And Mean It

When you know you do not want to go with the flow, look into the eyes and refuse boldly. Humbly, if necessary, but with authority. Your confidence in yourself should show that you’re not likely to give in.

Be Bold  to say no to your peers
Image: Be Bold And Firm While Refusing

A bonus tip is to back your refusal with a statement that’s positive. For instance, assume someone offers you an unethical way to gain something. Just say, “No thanks. I’ll figure something out”. Be repetitive and don’t ponder about stating your stand again and again. Being polite isn’t really the best approach in these cases.

Make An Exit

Rather than getting into an uncomfortable situation, it is always recommended to avoid such occasions. Even if it occurs abruptly, make a prompt exit. Leaving the scene will save you from a rush of unnecessary anxiety.

Write to Your Writer

If you think you’ve exhausted all the ways to make yourself feel good about yourself, then we’ve just what you need. Write to us. We’re here to listen. We might even write an article addressing whatever that’s stressing you.

Final Words

As a social being, you can not expect to live among people and not be influenced by their presence. Be it their values, choices, experiences, or achievements- it’s inevitable to feel overwhelmed at times.

While swinging on the dilemma, weigh your options wisely. Choose what suits you best. And even if you suffer from Impostor Syndrome or make the wrong call, it’s okay. Living is a continuous process of learning. Know dealing with peer pressure. Keep your chin up. 

Eggs representing Peers
Image: It’s Okay to Be Different from Your Peers

Remember, in your story, you are the central character and all those you see around you are just fillers. You’re the star born with your timeline who does not need to fit in. Life is not the rat race that needs to be won. Life’s meant to be lived and enjoyed.

Your individuality adds variety to this world. Nuke everything else that states otherwise.

S. Ariba Salam
When life gives me lemons, I make lemon cakes.