Peer pressure is the stress or strain you feel from friends and school mates to act, behave, think and look a certain way.
This kind of pressure can cover everything from fashion through to sex and dating. Peer pressure may influence us in a number of ways, including our:
- Fashion choice
- Decision to have a boyfriend/girlfriend
- Alcohol and other drug use
- Choice of who our friends are
- Performance at school
Some peer pressure may be a positive influence and help to challenge us or motivate us to do our best. But, peer pressure may also result in you doing stuff that doesn’t fit in with your sense of what is right and wrong.
Do any of these sound familiar?:
- “The guy I’m with said he’d tell my friends I was frigid if I didn’t have sex with him.”
- “My mates said if I didn’t do drugs with them then they wouldn’t be my friends anymore.”
- “He said that if I haven’t got a girlfriend then I was a freak."
When people say stuff like this to you it makes you feel bullied. Sometimes you can feel like to be cool or popular, you must do what others say or do what they are doing. It's ok to not follow everything your friends do. If you don't want to or are not comfortable doing something, don't do it! Remember, it's ok to say no.
The truth is, true friends respect and accept you for who you are and everything you stand for. It’s important that you stand up for yourself and your decisions. Tell your friends that you respect their choices and are not judging their behaviours, but that they must also do the same for you. If the pressuring continues then they aren’t real friends at all and you should find people who accept you as you are.
If you’re really worried about peer pressure it’s very important to talk to someone, perhaps an older brother or sister or some different friends. It will make you feel much better if you can find someone to talk to.