What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is when we are influenced to do something we normally wouldn't do because we want to fit in with other people or be accepted by our peers (A peer is someone you look up to like a friend, someone in the community or even someone on TV).
How does peer pressure affect me?
Peer pressure can be both a positive and negative influence and will challenge us do things whether they are right or wrong. This is left for you to determine. Peer pressure can influence several areas in your life like; academic performance, who you choose for friends, it can influence who you mat choose for a boyfriend or girlfriend, it can influence decisions about sex, it may change your feelings about alcohol and drug use, and it can even determine your fashion choice.
Why do people give into peer pressure?
Though it's different in many ways from high school, there is still pressure at college to "fit in" and to be liked by others. There is often peer pressure to do things you wouldn't normally do "because this is college" and you are trying to meet new friends. While a trip to Wal-Mart at 3am or staying up late with friends while trying to eat your weight in cookie dough maybe fun new things to try, driving while blindfolded because of a sorority dare or trying cocaine "because this is college" and definitely not good choices. Listen to your common sense.
For some people peer pressure may come from you directly, this may be because you are feeling different than everyone else even if they are not suggesting you join. Other times groups of friends can have certain activities and habits they do together. If you find that hanging out with people who tend to do things you wouldn't normally do and you feel unaccepted unless you follow through, "get out" so you don't fall into the pressure to "fit in"
What can I do about it and who can I turn to for support?
You could first try take responsibility for yourself and do what you feel is best for you, try letting this group know you are fun to be with even if you don't participate in all the same activities as them. It's ok to be an individual.
Things to do to manage peer pressure:
• just say "no"
• stick with what you believe is right
• don't judge others- if you respect other people's decisions even if they are different from yours this may help others to respect you choices
• try to find a new crowd- find people who like doing the same things as you so that you don't find a need to have to change your values under pressure
• "take action" for others who are being pressured- if others see you standing up for someone other than your self, they may see that what they are doing is wrong,
• and if you need further assistance visit the NEC college counseling center for support.