There is one advantage to being 102 – there is no peer pressure ~ Dennis Wolfberg
I am not sure how old Dennis was when he said that, but his idea about peer pressure and bullying rings true. As you get older, there will be less people around to bully you into follow in their ways. So till you get to 102, or around that age, you need to learn to deal with peer pressure.
What is Peer Pressure?
It is in our nature to spend time with others in our age group, and learn from them.
Depending on the activity you are involved in, those close to you – your peers, might not be in the same age group as you. It is often said that a man can be defined by the company he keeps. The kind of people you have around you will determine how you think, how you act and how you feel. Peers have a profound effect on your psyche.
Why Should You Deal with Peer Pressure?
More often than not, peers will have a strong, positive influence on each other, on you. They will keep you motivated to complete your goals, they will make you feel light when things get tough, and they might also cook for you, if you ask nicely.
However, often peers will drive you to do things that are against your principles or something that could have a negative impact on you. When it comes to dealing with peer pressure, their (your peers’) intentions for pressuring you into agreeing with their ways are irrelevant. What matters is if you can discern right from wrong and take counter-action to ensure that you don’t end up doing something regrettable or something that will knowingly or unknowingly harm someone.
How do You Deal with Peer Pressure?
Dealing with peer pressure is no easy task. People of all age are at a high risk of falling into peer pressure traps if they lack self-esteem, are trying to fit into a new place (school or city) or are scared of their peers. Any of these (and many other) factors make it necessary that you have the right mindset and tools to deal with peer pressure. Here are 5 tips that will come in handy:
Introspection is the most difficult, yet important process involving yourself. You need to understand what your principles are – Do you dislike alcohol? What are your thoughts about cheating? Are you the kind of person who calls in sick just to take a day off and go to the beach?
Once you understand and appreciate yourself, you will realize what principles and values you subscribe to. This realization is important as it provides you a platform to expand on. A list will allow you to know the things that matter to you the most, it will help you make a stand when your peers try and persuade you to do something that is against your principles.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were the only one (or so you think) who opposed an idea, but you didn’t speak up? Why was that? Fear of being shot down? Fear of being called out and feeling embarrassed? Whatever it was, don’t worry.
We often think that standing up for what we believe in will get us into trouble. Maybe so. But if you don’t stand up for something that you believe in, your conscience will make things difficult for you. Learn to speak up when you disagree with something, but don’t stand on a soapbox. Be polite, but let your opinions be known. It is important that you stand for yourself, if no one else will.
Good or Bad
I bet you have some idea whether an action is good or bad. But will your judgment is biased if everyone around you is involved in an activity that you consider to be unhealthy, to them, yourself or others? You will often find that in smaller peer groups, you try and fit in by partaking in an activity which you would otherwise not have been part of.
If this is the case, then learn to speak up. Learn to stick to your own conscience and judgment about whether an event or activity is good or bad. In these times, having a strong opinion, even if it opposes the general consensus, is good. These opinions will be your saving grace, when you make a difference in someone’s life. So learn to judge events as they are, without any pressure from your peer group.
Control the Alpha Male (or female)
Do you know who an alpha male in a group is? An alpha male is the one who quite often leads the group as an authoritarian, and rest of the group members follow. Alpha males give a strong sense of direction and discipline to a group. However, misdirected leadership could really tamper with group dynamics.
Know who this alpha male (or female) is. If you can control or direct the alpha male, you can control the direction of the group. Controlling someone who controls a group is easier than it sounds, check out some tips here. You need to be strong and carry dominant ‘beta’ male traits to successfully and quietly challenge an alpha male to ensure that your peer group maintains its positive focus.
Be Comfortable with Your Choices
In the Rat race to reach your desired destination with as little fallout as possible, you will have to make some difficult decisions. When it comes to your peer group, you will have to decide to stand against them, even if it means that you risk losing them. If you are strongly principled and have good sense of judgment, your conscience will demand the best from you, which could involve making difficult choices.
Be comfortable with those choices. Learn to have no regrets in what you do, and know what whatever action you take will be the best possible action given the circumstances. If you can do this, you can deal with peer pressure.
Did you find this article useful? I would love to hear you opinions, tips and examples of how you fought peer pressure. Please leave a comment and share.