How to Avoid Peer Pressure
Our friends are some of the most important people to us. We listen to what they tell us, we spend a lot of time with them, and some of them may even still be our best friends when we’re older. They’re there for us when we need someone to turn to or someone to spend time with. We love them and they love us.
Though, when your friends start to tell you what to do it can be a bit difficult to say no to them. When your friends begin to pressure you into doing something, this is called peer pressure. It’s not a very nice feeling. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed in trying to make the right choice or trying to remain true to our beliefs.
I was a kid once, too. Not too long ago either. I remember pretty clearly how easy it was to do what my friends asked of me even though I knew it was wrong. I got into trouble sometimes for it. Most of the time, I wanted to tell them no because I knew better. But, like I said before, we love our friends and want to keep them around.
Here’s the thing, though. We may love our friends but true friends who love us will never force us into doing anything that we’re uncomfortable with. If you say, “No, thanks,” to a friend, a true friend will take that answer without pressuring you into doing anything. As we get older many of our friends will be like us. They will try to find out who they are and what they like. It will be a tough time for a lot of you, I won’t lie. But, the most important thing to remember is that if you’re uncomfortable doing something, you have to say something. Don’t ever believe that you need to make your friends feel better by sacrificing what you want or believe in. Do the same for your friends. You’re all in it together.
Something else that’s important to remember is that you matter. Your opinions matter. Your decisions matter – good or bad. If a friend wants to skip class or offers you a cigarette, you need to say no. It’s okay if you don’t want to. You’re just as important as they are and if you tell yourself that you won’t smoke or drink then you need to stand firm in your beliefs. It’s okay to put yourself first in these situations, especially if it means remaining true to who you are. It’s also important for keeping out of trouble because you know something is wrong.
Remember, there are always adults that you can talk to as well. If you’re too embarrassed talking to the teacher, talk to a parent. They’re there to guide you and be there for you. They will have many stories about their own childhoods that will help you with your own. An older sibling is also a great person to go when it comes to advice. We’ve all gone through these things before.
It can be really hard to turn down our friends, yes. It can be even harder to stick to our beliefs when we’re being challenged. But, it’s crucial to remember that we don’t need to do whatever our friends tell us or ask of us. True friends wouldn’t do that to you. True friends let you speak your mind and accept the answer you give them. If a friend of yours still pressures you, it might be time to think about letting that friend go and spending more time with the people who really care about you and want you to be safe.