Peer Pressure

Zaina Waheed and Michael Malka

Have you ever been pressured to do something you didn’t want to do? Did you do it, and if you did, do you regret it, or do you think it made part of who you are today? Almost everybody has been pressured to do something more than once, it’s not something you can completely avoid, but you should know how to respond to any of the situations. 

According to Lyness from TeensHealth, there are two types of pressure: good and bad. Sometimes, your friends influence you positively, like have you try something new. You may end up experiencing something you really enjoy now, except you didn’t know it then. Friends can show positive examples to one another. As you socialize with your friends, they can give you advice and feedback. They can help you make decisions. Finally, friends also give each other encouragement. We all have bad days, and it’s good friends that make them better.

“I think it is important that students and adults realize that peer pressure is real, and it can be very powerful.  Peer pressure can affect us in every aspect of our daily lives and can have very real consequences. You can walk the halls of WSMS, see the sneakers, and backpacks, and clothing styles that are similar.  Peer pressure plays a role!,” Mrs. Borderlon, WSMS Counselor.

You have to be careful about who you choose to be your friend though, because people can also influence each other negatively. Some people can be a bad example to you, and give you bad advice. They may bring you down and discourage you, or make you try something you feel uncomfortable with. People tend to give in to peer pressure so it’s not awkward or they could be able to “fit in.”  People may influence you indirectly or directly. An indirect situation would be people smoking around you. A direct situation would be someone offering you to smoke with them. 

“ There are many times that we experience peer pressure and we are not even conscious of it.  Students can have consequences for ‘giving into’ peer pressure when asked to do something that is risky or goes against the rules,” said Mrs. Bordelon

It’s not possible to completely avoid these situations, but you can prepare for future situations where it may happen. Always listen to your gut. If you feel like something is wrong, even if others don’t, something is wrong for you. You might want to have something you can say, just to be ready for a pressuring moment. You can talk to your parents and decide on a certain phrase. If you’re calling them and say that phrase, they know to pick you up. You can also just blame your parents. You can say something like, “If my mom found out I smoked, she would ground me for ten years!” Finally, you should just learn to be comfortable with saying no. People might even admire you because you said no. Of course, if the situation gets too dangerous or out of hand, tell an adult. You should always hang out with people that have similar morals and who feel the same way you do to start with.

“Spending time determining who we are, what we stand for, is the best way to combat peer pressure.  If you are a student that has the integrity to never cheat on a test, and you know this about yourself, you won’t cave when a friend asks you to let them copy your work,” said Mrs. Bordelon.

Additionally, if you have a friend that you really care about, you should always try to help them be a better person by encouraging them to try something new, even if it’s something as simple as finishing their homework or studying for an important test. Peer pressure could be as simple as telling someone to say something cruel to a person, just because that person isn’t able to defend themselves. Believe it or not, one insult can lead to someone deciding to take their own life. 

All in all, we should always be cautious about peer pressure. It affects you and everybody around you. We should be prepared for these types of situations, and stick to what you feel and know what is right and wrong. Make sure you choose the right friends for you because it can impact the rest of your life.