Peer pressure is when someone influences your decisions around what you should or should not do. Someone you know may try to get you to do something you don’t want to do, or they may try to stop you from doing something that you really want to do. The reason that you may decide to change your mind and do what they say is because you may want to ‘fit in’ and be part of a group. Feeling part of a group is really important for everyone, so it is understandable that most people do feel pressured to go along with what other people are doing.
Negative peer pressure is the type of pressure that you may find yourself wanting to ignore because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Peer pressure can be positive. For example, when playing sport, have you ever felt that you’ve performed better when you have had your friends cheering you on? Have you ever worked a little harder and put more effort in with your school work to get a better grade in order to fit in with your peer group?
Some common peer pressures are:
- Pressure to try drugs, alcohol or cigarettes
- Stealing or shoplifting
- Illegal actions such as speeding or driving unlicensed
- Cheating on tests, copying assignments or letting others copy your work
- Ditching school for the day to do something else with friends
- Pressure to dress a certain way that doesn’t feel comfortable
- Pressure to not be friends with certain people or to ignore or not include certain people in social situations.