Everyone has to face peer pressure at some point in their life. Usually, the first time most kids face it is during school, particularly in the later stages of middle school or as a high school freshman. While peer pressure may often be confused with bullying, it must first be clarified before it can be dealt with.
Peer pressure, in its simplest meaning, refers to the influence other people, such as friends or colleagues have on any decision you make. This is one form of social pressure that people of all ages, not just teenagers, or school going children have to face. Even in their professional lives, people face peer pressure to quite an extent and may do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
This situation may seem familiar to you and if you often find yourself caught in such a pickle, you may want to consult a counselor or a therapist. Here are a few essential questions you should consider if you ever feel the need to go see a counselor.
- How often are my decisions influenced by others?
This is an essential question in order to determine whether you require counseling or not. Observe your behavior over time, such as over a week or over a month, in order to answer this question. In any decision you make think over once and create a mental tally or keep a record of how many times you have been influenced by others.
- What is my stand on the issue?
This is the key question to ask. However, be very careful while answering this one. While it is one thing to become convinced through logic and reasoning about a certain issue, it is completely different to be pressurized into doing something. Therefore, knowing your own stance on the decision is very important to check whether or not you are easily influenced. Make sure that you know and understand your view and you can justify your actions. Once you know this, it may not be an issue to realize if people around you are influencing your decisions.
- Is this the right thing to do?
This question is closely related to the previous one. Knowing your stance on the issue can help you identify what the right thing to do is. However, it is important to analyze if you are acting on what is right, not just what others may be telling you or what you may have heard. To answer this question, your gut or your guilty conscience may be helpful. If your stance is different from what you are considering or if your actions are different from what you think is right, then you may have a peer pressure problem.
- How many people are influencing my decisions?
You need to know how many people are influencing your decisions on a regular basis and who these people are. For teenagers or young adults, your parents may be influencing you. However, this influence may not be entirely negative. However, if as a professional you are under peer pressure constantly by your friends, colleagues and other people you interact with, you may require counseling for this matter.
- Do I say no often?
This is one of the major causes that lead people into tricky situations due to peer pressure. Youth today, in particular, may be so inclined towards pleasing other people that they might not actually ever say “NO” when faced with a tricky situation. If you do not say no often, particularly with the fear of social exclusion or rejection, you may require counseling.
Keep asking yourself these questions or look for any red flag in your behavior with respect to peer pressure. This helps you take better care of yourself, and keeps your mind at peace. However, if you do feel signs of peer pressure in your daily life, it is a good idea to consult a therapist.