Everybody, no matter what age, is faced with the pressure to 'fit in'. In our teenage years this pressure can be even stronger because no one wants to feel like an outsider. Peer pressure can sneak in and take over yourself life choices. There are things you can learn to help you deal with it when it is a problem.
Everyone has a desire to 'fit in', no matter what their age. Some people might feel it more than others. You might feel it more in some situations than others. This can mean making choices that you don't really want to or that are unsafe. Here are some examples:-
1. Wearing 'the right' clothes - This might contribute to fights with your parents, not having money to do other things you like to do, or even doing things like stealing to get the gear you need to 'look right'.
2. Trying smokes, alcohol, dope or other stuff - These are so not good for your health and can lead to accidents, fights, and trouble with the police.
3. Missing school - This can lead to trouble at school, with your parents and maybe with other friends too.
4. Teasing, bullying or hurting other people - You can end up feeling bad about this, not to mention how the person who is the target might feel!
5. Too much dieting or body building - Trying to be 'thin' or 'muscular' to get people to like you doesn't work and can actually harm your body. These are just some examples of the pressures and life choices that you and your friends might face every day.
Dealing with it
How one deals with peer pressure can be different for everyone. There are a few things you might think about:-
1. Most importantly, be true to yourself:- Make your own choices. Get to know who you are and what is good for you and your life.
2. Think about what someone gets out of pressuring you to do something:- Is this really for your benefit? Or for theirs? What do they get out of forcing you to do something you don't want to?
3. Think about what you are getting out of the choices you are making:- What would you like for yourself in the future? How are the choices you are making now going to help or hinder your ability to achieve these goals? What might you do to get there in the most successful way you can?
4. Learning skills like assertiveness can help:-. This can mean using messages like "I think...", "I feel...", "I will..." or "I want...".
5. If someone is pressuring you to do something you don't want to, talk to someone you know will listen and help you. Keeping it inside and carrying your worries around can make things even harder to deal with.
6. Find things you are interested in : Involve yourself in your favourite activities or hobbies and create an identity for yourself.
7. Hang out with a range of different people and listen to what is important to them. There is no one way of doing or viewing things. Think about what is most important to you and who you are as an individual! You might find that a different group of people is more like you. Give it a go and find out! Giving it a go can mean you learn more about what is good for you - whether you decide that you think they are people you wouldn't want for your friends, or "groovy hipsters" (you've found a group that just suits you)!
8. Learn from your mistakes and learn from your peers:- You can learn from the successes and mistakes of the people around you.