Peer pressure can be tough to deal with, especially when you are a teenager or in your college years. The desire to fit in and feel like you are part of a group is completely normal, and most people feel this way their entire lives.
The important thing about peer pressure is that it can sometimes be positive, but other times it can be a bad influence in our lives. Combating the pressure of your peers can be challenging but it’s essential that you know what your own personal values are and where you stand about certain things.
When you’re in college, it can be harder to avoid peer pressure since you’re on your own, an adult, and maybe even living away from home. Your parents are no longer there to watch over you, and ultimately you will be responsible for the decisions you make. If you ever feel pressured to do something you don’t like or do not want to do, simply tell the person pressuring you “thanks but no thanks” and move on. If you end up in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, graciously leave the situation and go home. If you’re involved in a more complicated or even dangerous situation, talk to an adult you trust like your parents, your professor, or even the police if you feel the need. You can always stay anonymous if you go to the police.
Always remember that you will deal with the consequences of your own actions, so avoiding peer pressure is a good way to stay out of trouble and keep your life on track.
Here are a few tips to start with…
1. Choose Your Friends Wisely
Being in a toxic peer network can be difficult to get out of if you’re not too confident in your own skin yet. That said, choosing a group of friends who are supportive and kind definitely boosts your morale. Gaining new acquaintances to leverage your career or school life, in the long run, is never a problem – just remember that there’s a definite difference between real friends and people who you just talk to.
2. Don’t Depend on One Friend Group
Having just one set of friends can increase the pressure to fit in. At the same time, whenever your friends are busy doing other things, it can get lonely if you have no one else to talk to. Learn to diversify your range of friends.
Go to events, volunteer, or simply let yourself be introduced to a new person. You never know who you might meet along the way. If anything, this only shows that you’re expanding your network and meeting plenty of cool new people.
3. Seek Advice from Others
If you feel yourself being pressured by your friends, but you aren’t sure how to act on it, seek advice from other people. This is preferably an older adult whom you trust, like your parent, older sibling, or a guidance counselor. However, it’s understandable that someone coming out into their own, you won’t want to rely on these authority figures to make your decisions for you.
When push comes to shove, look to your other friends for help. Call them up and talk them through what you’re experiencing. The support and advice they give will definitely lift your mood.
4. Engage in Activities that will Give You More Self-Confidence
The pressure of belonging, even at the expense of doing something we’re uncomfortable with, often stems from a lack of self-esteem that we believe being in a large group could fix. It’s just so safe. You can break free from this misleading idea by engaging in activities that will boost your confidence.
Start a new sport or hobby, study a new language, find some part-time job, for example writing for coursework service, where you can meet new people and grow your skillset to make you see that you have worth outside other people’s validations.
5. Accept Occasional Loneliness
Sometimes, the best company is ourselves. Learning to step back from a crowd and really being in tune with your inner self helps you strengthen your self-esteem. It also builds your resolve against outside forces that put you down by pushing you to do things you don’t want to do.
Accepting loneliness isn’t always a bad thing. After all, the best way to learn to interact and love other people is by first learning to appreciate yourself for who you are, and college is the perfect time for that self-discovery.
Last but not least, college for most of us is the best times of our lives, you can either make it or break it. It is for you to choose.