The desire to fit in and feel like you are part of a group is normal, and most people feel this way sometimes, especially in the teen and young adult years. Peer pressure, that feeling that you have to do something to fit in, be accepted, or be respected, can be tough to deal with. Manging peer pressure is usually not that difficult if you are only surrounded by people whose values, preferences, and behaviours are similar to yours.When faced with overt or indirect pressure to do something you’re not sure about, try using the following strategies:
Say ‘no’ like you mean it.
The most basic way to respond to peer pressure is to just say ‘no.’ Standing up to peer pressure will save you the trouble of getting pressured again in the future because it sends a clear message that you’re not interested. Be firm and make eye contact. This shows that you’re not willing to compromise.
Choose friends carefully.
Remember, a true friend won’t push you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. And when it comes to resisting negative pressures, it helps to have a buddy. Agree that you’ll have each other’s backs on certain things, such as not drinking too much.
Stand up for others when you see them being pressured.
“Bystander intervention” (stepping in to help out when you see someone in trouble) can be an effective way to support others and send a message. If you don’t feel comfortable directly confronting the person doing the pressuring, try distracting them or inviting the person being pressured to do something else.
Make your own decisions.
Don’t make decisions based on what other people think is good for you or what they want you to do. Do things that make you happy and make those decisions on your own. While some people might ask you to do something that pushes you outside your comfort zone in a good way, be mindful of any negative consequences that could occur.
Use the delay tactic.
Rather than answer immediately, say you’re going to think something over first. That time buffer makes your eventual “no” less of a surprise. If you know there will be drugs or alcohol at a party, decide in advance how you will handle it, or make other plans. Sometimes we give into peer pressure to avoid feeling lonely. But spending time with yourself is a way to rejuvenate and reinforce your own priorities. If something doesn’t feel right for you, then it’s not. Period