Peer pressure is something many of us have felt during our lives. It’s more common when you’re younger and trying to find your place in the world. Maybe you were encouraged by your mates at school to try smoking, or to skip lessons. On some level, it still exists in adult life too. There will always be moments when your friends try to convince you to do something you know isn’t the best idea… like staying for ‘one last drink’ at the pub instead of going home for the early night you know you need.
As a general rule, though, if you’re surrounding yourself with the right type of people, peer pressure isn’t something you should struggle with in adulthood. But it can creep back in at times of insecurity or new experiences, or when life throws you a curveball – much like the parent guilt we spoke about in our blog: Parent Guilt – It’s Times Like These Where It Raises Its Ugly Head.
The world is in a very funny place at the moment. It feels like a form of limbo. We are post-lockdown, but we are far from back to normal life. We are allowed to do some things, but not others – and people have different levels of comfort zones. Are you finding that peer pressure is creeping back into your daily life when friends and family are suggesting get togethers you’re just not comfortable with?
Peer pressure can hit you from all angles
Peer pressure isn’t isolated to one area of life. It can hit you from all angles – home, work, school, your social life. Maybe your boss is wanting you back in the office and everyone else is ok with that – but you’re not. Maybe your partner or housemate wants to throw a birthday party as a one-off, saying ‘What’s the harm?’. The idea makes you anxious. Maybe your friends are all off to the pub, but such public places are still a no-go for you.
Analysing each and every situation is exhausting – trying to find where you stand amongst so many different options and approaches to Covid restrictions. And it’s horrible to feel like the odd one out. But there’s nothing wrong in that and those around you should respect your choices.
Stand up to peer pressure
Peer pressure often comes from good intentions. Your friends just want you at the pub with them. Your boss wants you in the office as you’re great motivation for the rest of the team. The fact remains, though, that if something makes you uncomfortable, then you shouldn’t be doing it.
You have to be really strong to stand up to peer pressure. You hate to be the party-pooper. But better that than casting your principles aside and finding yourself in uncomfortable situations. Covid has really highlighted the fact that everyone experiences situations differently. One person may be ok with group gatherings, while the next may prefer to stay at home. Whatever your beliefs and feelings, stick to your guns. Standing up to peer pressure doesn’t have to mean a confrontation – just be honest, explain how you feel and, if people respect you, they’ll understand.
How have you dealt with peer pressure in recent times – or in the past? Leave your comments below.