Being what/who you think everyone wants you to be isn’t cool, nor is following what everyone else is doing. What’s cool is saying no, sticking to your guns, and being okay with yourself about it afterwards.
I know this totally probably sounds like a cliche, mom type of post, but I have a ton of little cousins that are kids right now, some that are in Junior High School, and some that are just starting High School and College where things like peer pressure happen all the time as if it were the norm. So I guess this post is more for them and people in that age range than anything. I know they all may have parents and/or older siblings of their own to help them with things like this, but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
Peer pressure is real, and it can be a scary thing for those who aren’t as strong-willed or know how to handle things like that. Sometimes the people you least expect to pressure you into doing certain things, are the ones who not only do it the most, but do it in the most inconspicuous way that you’ll never realize it until it’s too late.
I feel like it’s a ridiculously common misconception for people to believe that peer pressure solely revolves around drinking, smoking, and/or drugs in general, but that couldn’t be more false. Peer pressure can literally be anything. Anything that YOU don’t want to or feel comfortable doing that other people (friends, or otherwise) try getting you to do, can and, most times, is definitely considered peer pressure. Whether it’s something as “simple” as these people convincing you not to check in with your parents after school like you normally would do or cutting class with them, to something as serious as someone (or people) trying to convince or force you to try hardcore drugs or have sex with someone, it’s all one in the same, and it’s all peer pressure to some degree.
I can’t tell you how many times people, old roommates, friends of my old roommates, etc., would constantly try to push me to try smoking or getting shitfaced with them every weekend. Like don’t get me wrong, I drink occasionally, have gotten drunk, smoked hookah, etc., but it’s because I’ve wanted to do it, not because I ever let anyone force me or talk me into it.
Anyone who really knows me, knows that if I say no, it’s going to be no and nothing the person/people say or do is going to change that. If anything, the more they ask and/or try to get me to do it, the more I’ll get uncomfortable, pissed off, and just straight up want nothing to do with you.
For instance, I just have no type of interest in doing/trying any kind of drugs, from the hardcore shit to the “simplest” stuff like weed. It would do nothing for me other than probably make my paranoid ass more paranoid than what I already am. Plus I’ve seen family members of mine, friends, and just people in general that I know get really fucked up mentally from THEM doing these things that they previously got pressured/talked into doing somehow or another many many moons ago, so why am I going to let other people attempt to talk me into doing those exact same things? For that? To end up like them? Yeah, no thanks.
And don’t get me wrong, some of my closest friends that were roommates, old co-workers, etc. do these things and one thing I’ve always told them, I don’t care if you smoke, drink or whatever, just don’t involve me in it if I tell you I’m not interested. It’s that simple. You do it? Cool, that’s fine, I respect and have no issue with it, so respect how I feel and just don’t bring it to me.
There’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying some of these things (although yes, some of them are considered “bad”, but that’s besides the point). The point is, there’s a difference between doing these things because you want to and doing it because others want or are trying to get you to do it.
The word ‘No’ is a powerful word that not many people hear or take seriously anymore, especially in the day and age that we live in. And it’s a shame because it’s really gotten to a point where there are people in and around the world that if they see or hear that you tell them no about something, they will not take no for an answer and will go as far as drugging and/or raping them, if not worse (not that those things are worse, but I’m just saying).
No means no, that’s it!!!! Don’t give in because you feel forced or want to feel like you fit in among your friends or whoever. And if you do end up doing any of these things at all, at least make sure you’re doing it because you actually want to and know what you’re getting yourself into.
Don’t let it bother you if people make fun of or tease you because you don’t want to do something. And I know that may sound cliche, and easier said than done, but it’s the truth. That’s just their way of being obnoxious to attempt to pressure you into whatever it is at the time; sadly though, many times this is what actually causes people to give in to the pressure just for the sake of shutting these people up and saying they tried it.
People will use some of the most annoying, ridiculous phrases and excuses in the book just to attempt to convince you. “What are you scared of?” “I dare you,” “What’s the big deal?” “I thought you loved me, prove it,” “Don’t be a chickenshit,” etc. etc. etc. And a lot of these I’m sure reading them will remind people of something you would hear in a movie or tv show, like who really says stuff like that? Who would actually give in to people saying those things? But it really is true. People do say dumb shit like this, and other people sadly fall into it and end up giving in.
Who cares what other people have to say? Who cares if they won’t be your friends anymore after you saying no? Who cares if your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you afterwards for you not being ready? WHO CARES? People are going to talk regardless. You’ll make new friends. And you’ll find a new boyfriend/girlfriend who loves you for who you are and respects you for your decisions and/or how you feel about things.
It is your god-given birth right as a human being to be able to have your opinion about something and say no if you don’t agree or feel comfortable with it. Doesn’t matter how big or small, or how serious or not it may seem. If you’re not comfortable with doing something, say no, it’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to give in just for the sake of fitting in and having friends, or being considered “cool.” You shouldn’t have to prove anything to anyone (in that aspect or any really) in order for them to be your friend or accepted in general. If they’re your REAL friend and REALLY love/care about you, they’re going to be your friend and respect you more because you said no and stuck to your decision.
Self-love and self-respect will always be more important than the acceptance of others, always remember that; because at the end of each and every day, YOU’RE the one who’s going to have to go to bed and live with the decisions/consequences that you created, not them.
-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤