Handling peer pressure: Is it possible?

John Seed, known as the Father, preaching to his followers. Photo Credit: Chloee Toro

By Brandon Valladares ’18

“It’s just alcohol stop being a pu**y and drink it. Everyone here is doing it.“ You take a shot and dislike the taste but continue to drink it because you don’t want to be the odd one out. When everyone is drinking, you find it hard to resist. You want to be accepted by others so you follow them. This is an example of peer pressure.  

Being a teenager is stressful enough as it is. Teenagers have to stress over academics, relationships, and their social life. As teenagers, we face peer pressure a lot. If a group of friends asks you to ditch, you have to decide to accept or reject their offer. When you’re deciding, you don’t want to be labeled as the joykill in your group of friends.

A couple of seniors were asked what their view on peer pressure was. Lisbeth Valentin, a senior, stated, “Peer pressure can be described as an influence that a person feels based on those who are around them. It’s like saying ‘I will do something in order for others to accept me.’ Peer pressure is a strong factor in a teenager’s life because they want to fit in and be accepted by society and by the people around them. They don’t want to feel left out because there are not doing what everyone else is doing.” Additionally, another senior Lorenzo Mendiola stated, “Peer pressure is the constant pressure one would feel by one’s peers in order to do something that is uncomfortable or wrong. Teenagers find it hard because they feel they [have to] give in into peer pressure in order to be accepted by others. It teaches a teenager how to say ‘No’ to certain things in life and be able to grow as an individual.”

But how does a teenager say no to peer pressure? Valentin states, “There are multiple ways a person can say no to peer pressure, such as making excuses for why you don’t want to do things. A person should be able to say ‘NO’ and not be judged for not doing something they do not feel comfortable with. Also, like, not all peer pressure is bad. Some peer pressure actually benefits a person. For example, when someone encourages you to do something that is out of your comfort zone, you may feel good about it later.” Mendiola, on the other hand, stated, “They can simply say ‘no,’ and be able to influence others to not give into peer pressure. Importantly if you don’t find yourself [comfortable] in that group, it is best to find a new group where you’ll find yourself [being comfortable]. You can talk to anyone who you feel comfortable to talk about being peer pressure.”

Overall, the best advice towards peer pressure is to find a new group of friends if you feel pressured to do things that go against your beliefs. You’ll notice a difference. When you find the right group of friends, you will feel comfortable, and you will able to say whatever you feel. You won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll fit in.