I focused on three situations in which peer pressure is involved in this blog. I zoned in on adult peer pressure, teen peer pressure, and peer pressure around drugs and alcohol. As we have learned from our studies in class it isn’t so easy to go against the norm of society, especially when everyone around you seems to be participating in a particular event. Although many may behave a particular way when alone, an audience changes the performance or acts of an individual. The presence of others tends to generally increase the most likely outcome, so how do we say “no” to peer pressure?
An article from Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center website offers ways in which adults can handle peer pressure in their daily lives. The main point they emphasized is that resisting pressure is essential for improving your own self esteem and coming to terms with the life you are living. The key idea is to be true to yourself and to reconfirm your core values. Being assertive and making a wide range of friends is important. I agree with this wide range of friends idea, that way if one group is doing something you don’t agree with you can find allies to side with you in saying its wrong. Surrounding yourself with those who seek the same values as yourself and learning from mistakes you were previously pressured into can help you handle peer pressure in the future. This article didn’t account for if an adult lives in a individualist or collectivist culture. If a job calls for group harmony or your lifestyle, you may conform easier. Individuals in an environment where being uniform is important may experience informational influence, in which they assume their answer is wrong and that of the group is right. Being under a boss that is telling you to do something because they have power over you and are assertive, can make you feel uncomfortable telling them you don’t agree, and therefore you conform.
Teens conforming to peer pressure has always been an underlying issue in society. Especially at an age that is sensitive to how others view them because they are still trying to figure out themselves. Social facilitation enables a teen to act differently around a certain group I believe best explained by Zajonc as the Drive theory. This theory is that being around others increases arousal in an individual making them want to impress or show off to their friends. The article addressing this topic suggests to come up with a better idea when presented with a task you don’t feel comfortable partaking in. It also suggests walking away, saying no, and coming up with excuses. This article did not seem very helpful to me. It’s one thing to teach right from wrong but harder to not do the “wrong” thing. When a task is easy to do, it’s much easier for a teen to get their friend to complete it even if previously the friend never thought of doing such. If the majority of your friends are doing something and your the only one not, your most likely going to change your behavior and mind. No one likes to be singled out or feel like the odd ball in the group.
The National Institute for Health article presents ways to resist the peer pressure around drugs and alcohol. The first tip given was to offer to be a designated driver which avoids you from taking drugs and keeps you on your friends good side, by getting them home safely. The article suggests that you tell your friends you have to keep your body healthy for maximum performance. It continues by mainly suggesting to create excuses for yourself to not do a particular activity your friends are doing. They say to blame not drinking or doing drugs to having strict parents that will check when you get home. Finally, the writing suggests that when all else fails leave, because if they were truly your friends they wouldn’t consistently pressure you. I think the accuracy of these strategies would largely depend on the size of the group participating in these illegal activities and pressuring you to do them. An individual can still experience normative influence in which he/she doesn’t want to go against the group, not because he/she believes it is right but because they don’t want to stick out. When surrounded by friends especially those that we want to please it is hard to say no. Coming up with excuses not to do something doesn’t work every time and eventually your friends will catch on.