Have you ever felt like one of your friends is trying to force you into making a decision—like urging you to take shots at a party you didn’t even want to go to in the first place? In school or extracurriculars, there will be people around you that might try to influence your decisions—even when you don’t realize it. This is called peer pressure (which is also considered a form of bullying) and it can be a stressful and frustrating part of being a teenager. Here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with peer pressure in a positive way.
1. Find Support
Strength often comes in numbers, so if you have a friend who shares the same values as you, try to stick together in situations where you both might otherwise feel pressured. Also know that there are many people you can talk to about the pressures you’re facing including family members, counselors, teachers or mentors.
2. Practice Saying No—and Mean it When You Do
Sometimes it can be helpful to plan ahead and imagine situations where you might be pressured to do something out of your comfort zone. Practice what your response will be so that when the situation arises, you know what to say. Alternatively, practice saying no in safer situations like with your family members, so that you get the hang of being assertive.
3. Build Positive Relationships and Be True to Yourself
Avoid making friendships with individuals who try to pressure you into situations you don’t feel comfortable with. However, in these situations remember that you are in charge of your own decisions—noone else. Your values are important and you should be confident in asserting them.
4. Try Humor
Sometimes all it takes is one simple, humorous deflection to get out of a tricky situation. Ain’t nobody got time to deal with bullies!
5. Don’t Peer Pressure Others
Remember that you can be a positive role model for your friends by not pressuring others and for speaking out for those who are being peer pressured. Remember that everyone is unique and that this variety of traits, strengths and values is awesome!
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