Six ways to resist peer pressure (part 1)
How to be yourself, when everyone wants you to be someone else
Teenagers are often conscious of the terror of not fitting in or being weird. When the fear flares up, you can feel it as weights in your feet, heart palpitations or a red burn across your face. Peer pressure seems impossible to resist, right?
Well, no. It is possible to fight the fear and stand up to peer pressure. In this article and the next one, I’ll share six ways to do it.
1. Know who you are and what you want
One of the most important things you can do as a teenager is to work out what you believe, what you live by and what kind of person you want to be. Then work out how you are going to feed that belief, how you are going to live it out, how you are going to be that person.
Think about it like a mobile phone. When you get a new one, it’s great fun to personalise the ringtones and display. If you don’t do it, the phone will still work on the default setting, but it will be just like every other phone out there.
Just like a phone, you can choose what settings your life will go on. If you don’t, your life will be determined by ‘default’. Look ahead 10 years. What do you see? If you don't make decisions for yourself, they will be made for you - by the majority of your peers.
Having a plan and a purpose is something that gains respect from others. It also helps you to keep your big picture in mind and say no to things that aren’t part of that plan.
2. Know who others are and what they want
Many teenagers are terrified of rejection. You may develop different strategies to deal with it. Some try fitting in & being ‘cool’, others become angry and cynical. Some drop out, act out or zone out.
When someone pressures you to join in, it's so they can feel better about themselves. They want to know that they aren’t going to be rejected. If you don’t join in, they see you as rejecting them, and because that’s the biggest fear of their lives, they’ll work hard to make you feel you have no choice.
So what can you do? Well, the obvious solution is to find other ways to make the people around you feel that they are ok, that they are unique and that they are loved.
Saying kind and encouraging things (but not being too cheesy) and avoiding insulting them back might help. Understanding that everyone is struggling with insecurity and finding ways to help people out is good too. If your friends feel validated by you because you’ve shown them you care, they are less likely to reject you or pressure you.
Tips 3-6 coming soon....