We’ve all been in that situation where everyone else we know is doing something, so we want to do it, too. Everyone else has an iPhone, so we ask our parents for one. Everyone else is wearing ripped jeans, so that’s what we buy, even though we don’t like how they look. Sometimes, we even get peer pressured into doing things we know are wrong. So, what is peer pressure? Is it always dangerous? How do you avoid peer pressure?
When one’s behavior is influenced by their peers, it is known as peer pressure. Peer pressure drives you to do things you never would’ve done before, and while that may seem like a bad thing, it isn’t always. For example, if all your friends are into a certain sport, peer pressure can push you to try that sport. Maybe you’ll end up liking that sport.
So when does peer pressure become negative? Negative peer pressure is when you are pressured into doing things that are harmful to you. According to the American Addiction Centers, “surveyed teens who saw them [pictures of their peers partying] were more than three times as likely to try alcohol.”
How do you identify negative peer pressure? According to the Accredited Online Schools, you can identify peer pressure by asking yourself 3 questions: 1, is this going to lead to healthy or unhealthy habits? Drug consumption can lead to unhealthy habits, while trying out a new sport (because all your friends are) might lead to a healthier lifestyle for you. 2, does this lead to good or bad outcomes for others? Drinking and driving may lead to an accident, which is a bad outcome for everyone. On the other hand, positive peer pressure can drive you away from doing dangerous things, which would be a good outcome for you and everyone else. Last but not least, 3, does this make me feel good or bad inside? Whether you’re doing it because of peer pressure or not, if what you’re doing makes you feel guilty or scared, keep from doing that thing.
Sometimes it can be scary when all your friends think you’re uncool because you don’t do what they do. Just know that for every person who thinks dangerous habits (like drinking and smoking) are cool, there’s at least one other person who doesn’t. So if you ever feel uncomfortable hanging out with certain people, try hanging out with someone else for a change.
Another way to overcome negative peer pressure is to tell someone if your peers are doing something harmful for them. They might be angry at you at first, but it will benefit them in the long run.
Finally, 90% of teenagers have experienced peer pressure, according to Study.com. So if you are going through peer pressure, remember: you are not alone.