The choices we make are birthed by our feelings and whatever forces that drives us. But in the long run, the choices we make either make or mar us and it is up to every individual to pick a path to follow – right or wrong.
Peers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term “Peer pressure” according to Wikipedia refers to the direct influence that peers can have on each other. Peer Pressure is a Social Pressure on somebody to adopt a type of behavior or lifestyle in order to be part of a group or clique. Members of a peer group are more likely to influence each other’s beliefs, values, and behavior.
Peer Pressure is common amongst teenagers because teens are mostly driven by their fantasies and desires making them prone to different influences due to their whimsical Nature.
Peer Pressure can be either negative or positive but it is 90% Negative and 10% Positive reason that Pressure is mounted on someone to do something which seems bizarre to him/her; pressure most of the time, need not be mounted on someone to do something that he/she knows is right and positive.
Research according to ‘VeryWellmind’ has shown that there are Six (6) types of Peer Pressure that can be used to analyze different pressures a person may experience. They are characterized into:
(1) Spoken and unspoken pressure
(2) Direct and indirect pressure
(3) Positive and negative pressure
SPOKEN AND UNSPOKEN PRESSURE; as the name implies Spoken pressure refers to when someone verbally influences or pressurizes someone to do something against his will or vice versa. For instance a Teenager telling his/her friend to try cocaine by saying, “come on, one sniff won’t hurt”. Whilst UNSOKEN PRESSURE refers to when no one voices out the pressure but the person in question feels pressurized to measure up to a certain standard set by the group or the clique he/she belongs to in a bid to fit in.
THE DIRECT AND INDIRECT PRESSURE; Direct Pressure is when the person uses oral or nonverbal measures to pressurize someone to do something. The example in the latter is a good example because the person being persuaded is put in a tight spot to decide on the response or action to take. Indirect pressure is similar to Unspoken Pressure in the sense that the person is not verbally pressurized but is being influenced by his environment and the people surrounding him. Being at a party where everyone is smoking, drinking and having sex, one may feel compelled to do same.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE PRESSURE; Positive Pressure is simply when the Pressure or the influence mounted on someone is yielding good results and in a beneficial manner. Whilst NEGATIVE PRESSURE as the name suggests is when a person is persuaded to do something he/she does not normally do or does not even want to do in order to fit into a certain lifestyle. Most people face negative pressures to indulge in drugs, alchoholism, abandoning school work, etc.
Peer Pressure or the desire to please one’s peers can override a teen’s fears of taking risks thereby causing the teen to exhibit certain behaviors and engage in many distasteful acts. It can lead one to engage in substance abuse, cultism, bullying, dressing a certain way, hanging out with a certain group, etc- these are some of its effects.
It is cliché to think that peer pressure ends after childhood because as the term “peer” implies, everybody has an age or peer group he/she belongs to. Adolescents are particularly inclined to Peer Pressure because they are at a stage of development when they are separating more from their parent’s influences and are moving into the wider world, but have not yet established their own values and principles concerning human relationships or the consequences of their behaviors. However, adults are also vulnerable to Peer Pressure. Many of them are prone to alcoholism and womanizing and even competing with their peers as to who is living better.
CURBING PEER PRESSURE
Dealing with Peer Pressure can be difficult and intricate. Below are some ways on how to handle it;
- Take your time: instead of quickly agreeing to something you’d rather not do, take a few minutes and think it over, if you are being persuaded to give an answer immediately, tell them you’d think about it overnight. It’ll be easier to tackle it that way when you have time to think about it.
- Consider your reasons: Cogitate your motives, if they are acting so for fear of not fitting in and your peers not socializing with you, you should probably reconsider you reasons. You deserve to be surrounded by people who see you for who you are and accept you so.
- Setting Boundaries: saying no can be very hard but it is pivotal to overcoming peer pressure, any friend or peer group that fails to consider your decisions are not healthy for you.
- Offer another option or substitute: Introduce new activities to your peers. For instance offer to go watch a movie or picnic or even the library. Sometimes your friends don’t just know how to do friendship the right way. Your knowledge on peer pressure will be salient in building a healthy friendships.
Being cognizant of, and carefully choosing peers that will influence and lead you towards a healthy and happy experience is a lifelong process that every human should have at the back of their minds.