In my own words, it connotes the influence one’s contemporaries or companions has over one’s decisions.
We were delusional when we thought it was associated only with the teenage and adolescent stages of life. The allure of alcohol, sex and a few other vices were seemingly at their peak at this time for reasons not too far from hormonal secretions, nevertheless, peer pressure outlives and outlasts that stage.
From our first breath to the very last, as long as we have people in our lives we can refer to as “peers”, there would always be the tendency to succumb or yield to their influence especially if they have a united stand which we don’t share.
In a conversation with a friend the other day, I got to know of a key government official who has perpetually been asked to take a backseat in meetings just because he doesn’t indulge in alcohol with them, another friend recounted a story of how a new environment and new friends would create a drastic change in her hobbies and the things she now indulges in, many of which she wasn’t proud of.
I will also wish to state that peer pressure goes both ways. It can be good or bad. I can remember clearly it took me staying with a few friends to get the “f-word” completely off my vocabulary. The focus of this post, however, is negative peer pressure, the dynamics, and the emergency exit door.
In my battle against yielding to peer pressure, a few weapons have come in handy. The first is a healthy self-esteem, many times we yield to negative peer pressure either because we don’t trust our decisions or because we don’t want others to see us in a particular light. A healthy self-esteem is that which in the face of a negative peer pressure says, “You don’t have to like my decisions or my choices but I like them, I’m standing by them and that’s all that matters” If you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything. It’s not as easy as it sounds as it has cost me friendships and a few opportunities but I’ve had peace within and a clear conscience, and these are paramount to me.
Also, many times it also helps to have persuasions, Strong reasons why we do the things we do or abstain from the things we abstain from. Many people yield to peer pressure many times because it brings a stronger argument than that which they hold on to. Re-examing our stand on subjects and having persuasions we can’t be talked off is an anchor against the winds of peer pressure.
The next is walking with the right peers. like the Apostle Paul said, evil communication will always corrupt good manners. So another weapon is to carefully select our friends, In choosing your friends you choose your temptations. I’ve always been of the opinion that one bad friend is too much, a thousand good friends are not enough. In life, we’ll see the need to associate with people who aren’t of like minds, or like faith, or like culture either in our career paths, in our daily commute or in the society in general. Having a bad friend is only bad when you’re ignorant of the fact that the person is a bad friend. Jesus moved with people that people that weren’t of like minds to the end of saving a handful of them when the fullness of time came.
Having established that as long as there are peers there will be peer pressure, I also state that, “In choosing your peers, you choose what you can be “Pressured” with”. I’ll love to read your comments on how you deal with peer pressure.