Positive Peer PressurePosted: 15th of January 2016 by
Your friends have a huge influence on who you are as a person. They influence the things you like, the places you go, and what you do. As we spend time with others we are exposed to their thoughts, ideas, and actions – and it is very easy to follow along, especially if you are placed under pressure to do so. Kids who wouldn’t normally skip school may do so if their friends exert enough pressure, and this peer pressure doesn’t go away when you leave school either. There is a thin line between peer pressure and a group mentality that causes people to act as part of a mob rather than thinking for themselves. However, while peer pressure often gets a bad rep, can it actually ever be a good thing?
It all depends who your peers are. Surround yourself with positive people and you will begin to think like them too, however, if your circle of friends has a tendency to find trouble then you may actually be better off distancing yourself!
It may seem harsh to drop friends that you may have known for years, and of course, this is not to say that you should turn your back on people when times are tough. However, nor do you have to follow them down a self-destructive path.
If you surround yourself with positive people who can help you grow then you will surely benefit more than by following a group who are constantly getting into scrapes. However, standing up can mean standing out – which can be tough when it comes to a group of friends.
Knowing who you are as a person is all part of growing up and maturing, and ultimately people will respect you more if you are your own person, rather than the type to follow blindly along. If you can find a like-minded friend who can also stand up against bad ideas then this will make your job easier. Either way, it takes inner strength and confidence to follow your own path.
If this is difficult for you, you may want to consider distancing yourself from the most negative elements, firmly saying ‘no’ and just walking away may be enough, but if things get really tough you may need to find some outside help. A parent, teacher, or other trusted adult may be able to help and advise you how to deal with negative peer pressure.
However, peer pressure needn’t always be a bad thing. Groups of friends can pressure each-other to make the right choices rather than the wrong ones - offering advice and support in times of need. If you have friends who you admire for their positive manner you can try to be a little more like them.
Telling each other about a good book or film can lead others to check them out, which is just one example of a positive peer group.
Of course, peer pressure can also play a part when it comes to making your choices after school or sixth form. If all your friends are looking at the university route, chances are you may wish to do the same. If this is right for you then great, you can compare information about universities and your courses. However, don’t let your peers detract from making your own choices – university may suit them, but it may not be right for you, and you may be better off looking for an apprenticeship.
Some of your friends may opt to go straight into work, others may be better suited to an apprenticeship, while you may wish to head out on a gap year. It is about knowing what is best for you. You can remain friends even if you are off doing different things – coming back together to meet up as you all go on your own ways.
Whether you go to uni, work, or elsewhere, you will meet new groups of friends who will join your circles of peers, and so the whole situation continues as you grow.
Remember, you become like the people you spend most time with – so choose wisely, and get yourself some positive peer pressure!
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