Peer pressure has no age bar. No matter whether you are a kid or an adult well into your fifties, you will always have to face this evil at some point. However, the youth of today’s world seem to sustain the most damage from peer pressure. This is because that is the age where you become more vulnerable to suggestions and your decision making skills are the most unstable. It seems a simple question when a friend asks you “Want a smoke?” and you think, well, why not, but that could be the starting point of the future alcoholic-chain-smoker-you.
Peer pressure can lead you into situations that you’d do well away from, like, alcohol, drugs, smoking, early pregnancies, STD and whatnot. Getting into such habits will ruin your future, destroy your dreams and could even kill you eventually. To stay away from the bad stuff, you need to be able to handle peer pressure even in apparently innocent situations. To those who have experience with peer pressure, it might look like a daunting task, but if practiced enough, you will never have to worry about it again.
Start by choosing the right friends. Prevention is way better than cure. Get friendly with people who enjoy similar things as you and stay away from those who are more likely to get into dangerous situations. Sometimes, the latter might be more popular and admired, but in the end, all that matters are friends who care for you and look out for you. Such friends not only keep you out of trouble, but will also make you a better person. All the fame and glamour that comes with the so-called ‘cool’ dudes is nothing but a mirage. Good behavior will get you far in life, not binge-drinking on booze or smoking pot.
Even with careful choosing, you might sometimes get stuck in a tough spot you cannot get out of. The trick is to alter the way you respond to the pressure. If you are pressured into doing something you don’t want to, use this magic word in all its forceful negativity- NO. Be brave enough to stand by your judgment and do not let anyone manipulate you. If you are not comfortable with an outright refusal, try changing the subject or treat their question like a joke and make fun of it. If you are clever enough and care about the person, turn the plates around and manipulate them from doing the bad stuff. If nothing else works out, just give your excuses and leave the place.
If you have tried all that and still worry that you might give in the next time, the best way out is to seek help. It might be uncomfortable at first and feel like a bad decision especially when you’re being bored out of your wits with truck loads of advice, but it will help a lot in the long run. Choose a person you trust, someone you are comfortable sharing your problems with and feel confident that they will give the right solution. It might be a parent or an elder sibling or a teacher or a close relative, but make sure that whoever it is, you obey them no matter what. Because, even if the solution proves difficult and even downright rude, it will get you out of the situation safe and guilt-free.