Do you know when someone is peer pressuring you? When does a friendly suggestion turn into something more? As you become older and more independent, you have more of a say in who your friends are and what kind of people you spend time with. And sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether or not these people are having a negative impact on you. You may experience peer pressure and not even know it, so it’s important to be able to understand what peer pressure is and what forms it comes in.
What is Peer Pressure?
The standard definition of peer pressure is, “Influence that a peer group, observers or individual exerts that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviours to conform to group norms.” But how do we apply this to our everyday lives? Have you ever been in a situation where one of your friends has encouraged you to do something that you’re not comfortable with? They may have used one of these textbook phrases, “C’mon, everyone else is doing it” or “What harm is it going to do?”. The truth is that no matter how good a friendship you have with someone, if they make you do something you don’t want to do, it’s peer pressure and it’s wrong.
What to do:
- Say No – It may seem hard at first but the quickest way to stop peer pressure is to simply say no. You’re an individual and you have the right not to do things you aren’t happy with.
- Be around people you’re comfortable with – The people who you are comfortable being around will have the same morals as you and won’t put you in a situation you don’t like.
- Listen to your gut instinct – If deep down something doesn’t feel right, be brave enough to stand up and walk away.
Having good friends is an extremely important part of our lives. Friendships can affect our emotions, our actions and how we develop as a person. Some of the most important things to know about friendships are; what a good friendship consists of, what makes a good friend and what a friend should not do.
At first, it might be hard to determine what you think makes a good friendship but when you really think about it, it’s quite simple. Elements of a good friendship are very similar to traits of a good friend. In a healthy friendship, you should be able to trust each other, not have many arguments, taking an interest in the other person’s life, appreciate each other’s differences and many more things. These are some of the many characteristics of a good friendship but what you should remember is that everyone is different, so every friendship is different.
Whilst it may seem a little obvious, it’s very important to know what makes a good friend. It’s also important to know how to be a good friend because then you’re more likely to have long and happy friendships. Typical traits of a good friend include:
- Someone who is supportive and encouraging
- A person you can trust and who shows loyalty
- Someone who is kind an considerate
- A good listener
- Someone who makes you smile and who you can be yourself around
Even though it is essential to know what makes a good friendship and what makes a good friend, it is even more vital to understand what a friend should not do and when a friendship can go wrong. A friend should definitely not be mean to you, make you do anything which makes you feel uncomfortable, harm you, post nasty things about you on the internet etc. If you feel like you’re in an unhealthy friendship, you can always talk to your carer, social worker, or another trusted friend.