How to handle peer pressure like a pro

Peer pressure doesn’t just stop in high school; it can carry on into your adult years at your place of work or within your friend group. That’s why I think it’s important to learn how to handle it, so that you’re able to stand your ground, even as an adult. Here are my top tips.

What is peer pressure?

Peer pressure is the influence to do something because all your friends are doing it. It happens because we all want to fit in and be liked, so we may find ourselves acting differently to get our friends’ approval.

Be aware of your feelings

Pay attention to how you feel when you’re around your friends and how their behaviour makes you feel. If they make you feel like you have to compromise on your values, beliefs and interests, then you need to reconsider your friendship. Healthy friendships don’t make you feel like you need to change who you are to fit in. 

Practice saying no

Saying no can be difficult since you never know how a person will react. So, it’s important to get used to the idea of saying no and not always needing to explain yourself. You can do this by saying it more often in easier situations, like saying no to a requested time to meet and suggest another time. Make a habit of having an opinion and sharing it, you don’t have to agree with everything people say.

Choose friends with similar values

Hang out with people who share the same interests and values as you to avoid constantly having to explain yourself. For example, if you don’t drink, try to avoid being friends with people who are heavy drinkers. Your friends play a huge role in your life, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.

Be clear on your boundaries

Be clear about what you’re willing to do and what you definitely won’t do. It’s important to set clear boundaries with friends, colleagues and partners from the very beginning and if these boundaries are crossed, talk to them about it. We develop better relationships when we are truthful about our feelings and have mutual respect for boundaries.

Peer pressure doesn’t always have to be negative. Some friends can inspire you to want to do better at school or work – this is positive peer pressure. You’ll know the difference by paying attention to how you feel in a situation. Being your own person can be hard, but if you use the tips I’ve given you, it will get easier with time.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)