Peer pressure can come in many forms. Some are subtle and some overt. I think sometimes teens don’t see the subtle forms because they are too caught up in fitting in, being popular or being liked.
Peer pressure and bullying can intersect a lot of the time. It can be your friends subtly making fun of you, laughing, putting you down & then saying, “just kidding.” Remember, at the core of every statement there is some truth. It can also be your friends saying, “you’re no fun” because you don’t want to do something that feels dangerous. You should be free and comfortable to make those choices for yourself.
Rule of thumb, if someone asks you or tells you to do something over and over that you’re not interested in doing, that’s peer pressure. If your friends make you feel uncomfortable for not going along with the crowd, for wanting to do something different, for trying something different….. that’s peer pressure. If your boyfriend tells you that you don’t care about him because you’re not interested or willing to do something for him or with him…. that’s peer pressure. If he withholds affection like a hug or smile because you don’t want to go somewhere with him….. that’s peer pressure. Any situation in which you are feeling uncomfortable, getting nervous or knots are forming in your stomach, that’s your body ‘s way of telling you something is wrong. Trust your instincts. We should never be forced into doing anything that makes us uncomfortable. I wish I could say to all teens that peer pressure is only something that happens when you’re young, but unfortunately it’s not. Peer pressure can occur in adulthood as well; however, the way we handle those situations will tell people how we demand to be treated. Respect yourself and other will respect you too. Those who don’t aren’t worth knowing.
Healthy relationships never require people to prove themselves in ways that are unsafe or uncomfortable. Healthy relationships fill us with comfort and ease. They make us feel safe and accept us for who we are. That is the sign of a true friend.