How to combat negative peer pressure
This topic stimulated much discussion in our recent Virtual Meet-up session.
It brought out some raw and honest stories as group members recountered instances in their past when they were faced with negative peer pressure.
Some felt helpless and out of control in a situation, some developed coping mechanisms, upon their efforts to fit into certain groups, to be socially accepted and belong.
Before we get into the details of what was discussed...
Negative peer pressure...what is it?
Negative peer pressure is generally when your decisions are influenced by others. Perhaps it is in an effort to 'fit' into a group or be 'accepted' by a group. Being influenced by such decisions and consequential actions then impact you detrimentally. If you give into negative or unwanted pressure from your peers, it could be dangerous or damaging to yourself now and in the future.
How to combat negative peer pressure
We put this topic to women in Australia, US and Canada in our Virtual Meet-up event 23 June 2022 (AEST).
Women shared their experiences with how they handled with negative peer pressure when they were confronted with it. Some confessed that they don't think they handled it as well as they could and looking back there are some things they would do differently.
Here are five take always from our recent discussion
1. Take time to know yourself; what your limits are, what morals and beliefs you want to live by, the type of person you want to be - stick by that!
Knowing who you are is a vital step into understanding whether your boundaries are being crossed or if you are being coerced into something which is against your beliefs, morals or the type of person you want to be.
In our meet-up discussion, women shared their stories of when they were faced by situations where they were being negatively influenced by peer pressure. Some of the stories shared were scary, and if they had given into peer pressure, it could have lead to their harm and even threaten their life.
So so scary, some of the stories just sent shivers up our spines!
2. Read the signs and recognise when you are being influenced by negative peer pressure.
It's sometimes hard to see negative peer pressure happening in front of your eyes, especially if it is with a group of friends or aquaintences who you typically trust or have never had a reason to question their actions or motives.
So how do you read the signs and recognise when you are being influenced by negative peer pressure?
Here are some questions to help you identify this:
- Have you rejected their first attempt to convince you to do something and they keep on trying to convince you?
- When you look around the room, does this feel like a space you want to escape?
- Do you feel uncomfortable around them and their suggestion?
If the answer was "Yes" to all three of these, it is likely you are being influenced by negative peer pressure.
3. If it doesn't feel right, it most likely isn't - trust yourself.
In our discussion, we talked about the importance of "trusting your gut" in a situation where you feel peer-pressured.
This is our body and our nervous system telling us something is wrong before our mind has caught up with us.
Trust yourself and act on your impulses to get out of this situation you find yourself in.
4. Walk away, it takes courage to stand up for yourself, do it anyway!
It takes courage to stand up for yourself, but it is crucial to yourself, yourself and your life.
Have you ever envied someone for being decisive, knowing what they like and don't like and walk away from what they don't like?
Feel like you're lacking courage? Try these to be more courageous:
- Acknowledge your fear of having others dissaprove of you.
- Use positive self-talk and tell yourself "this isn't right for me, I am in control of me, I choose to leave, everything will be okay".
- Deflect the request by using humor and say something like "you wish I would do that, this isn't for me, so I'll head off and see you later".
5. It's okay not to fit-in, it just means you haven't found the right crowd.
In these situations of negative peer pressure, you don't need to be empathetic to your peers, or "people please" them.
You don't have to impress anyone.
You don't have to fit in.
If they were really your friends, they wouldn't be trying to make you do something you're not comfortable with, that has the chance to impact you in a negative way.
Always choose you.
Find people who make you better and cheer you on.
It was such a pleasure to meet and see all the amazing and inspiring ladies who could attend this Virtual Meet-up!
A big thank- you to our Co-host for Canada/US Jackie @the_real_diy who volunteers her time for this. Please follow Jackie on her social media to support her and her women empowerment projects!