Choose to refuse


The Mirror reporter

Have you ever said no to your friends because they wanted to do something you had no interest in doing and, unfortunately, they started to pressure you into doing it and calling you names because you wouldn’t participate? Did you ever cave in and do it and have great regret later?

Peer pressure is a form of social conformity that pushes people to think or behave in certain ways, which are determined by peer groups.  People of different age groups respond to pressured situations differently.

Remember that peer pressure can be a positive or a bad influence on our lives. Dealing with the pressure of peers can be challenging at times, but it’s essential that you know your personal values and where you stand on certain things. It also important that your peer group knows your values and boundaries as well.

There is a difference between high school and college peer pressure. It may be harder to avoid peer pressure in college because you are your own adult, making your own decisions. Maybe you’re living away from home and you have to navigate through the crazy college life with a brand new set of peers. Drinking, sex, vaping, and partying rather than studying are often things you may be pressured into. Ultimately you become responsible for your own decisions and the consequences.

Freshmen come head-on with many different pressures when entering the world of college. The pressure to make friends, earn good grades and to fit in socially can be a lot to handle. It is important to know what you want out of your college social life. Being selective about the people you surround yourself with is not a bad thing.

According to “You should surround yourself with people who are like-minded and share similar values such as maintaining your self-respect, self-control and personal responsibility.”

If you feel pressured by your friends but are not sure about how to talk to them about it, seek advice from other people who you trust.  This person is preferably an older adult whom you feel comfortable with and will give you proper advice.

Sometimes we need to accept occasional loneliness and the best company can be ourselves. Learning to step back from a crowd and start becoming in tune with your inner self may help you strengthen your self-esteem.

Our society is very good at making it “not cool” to do what is right. When you try to do what is right, people will say you’re a goody-goody or may think you are trying to say “I am better than you.” They might not realize that their pressure is hurting you or making you do things you wouldn’t normally do just to maintain their friendship. Sometimes people get so deep into a friend group that they will conform to what the group says and does rather than say no and maybe lose their so-called friends. In doing so, they may lose themselves.

It is important to stand up for yourself even when it may cost you because conforming to peer pressure is hurting you more than it hurts them. Part of growing up and becoming yourself is taking ownership and responsibility for what you do. Never be afraid to say no to someone because, as a friend, they should respect your decisions.