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People talk about peer pressure a lot and they make it sound really bad, but what is it?

Your peers are your friends or people your own age. Peer pressure is when they try to get you to do something you may not want to do on your own.

You'd never guess from the way people talk about it, but peer pressure can be both good and bad. Good peer pressure is like the time when your bud convinced you to go bowling for the first time, and you had a ball, despite the funny shoes. Your friend's encouragement got you out to try something that you liked. It was safe. It was even a healthy form of physical activity to boot.

KatieBut sometimes peer pressure can be bad. Friends or classmates can try to convince you to do something dangerous, or that you don't want to do, or know that you know you shouldn't. Peer pressure can try to drown out that little "uh-oh" voice in your head, and that's not good.

There are different kinds of negative peer pressure. Here are some examples, and some smart comebacks.


Put downs/rejection
People might try to make you feel uncool or out-of-touch if you don't do what they want you to. Don't fall for it. They might try to make you feel like it's the only way to be cool or to be in their crowd. Remember they're just trying to get you to do what they want. And the harder they push, the smarter you are to resist. They're probably nervous 'cause they know they're doing something wrong. They want you to do whatever they do to make themselves feel better. And when you don't, they might try to make you feel worse about yourself. People talk about peer pressure a lot and they make it sound really bad, but what is it?

If someone says:
"Don't be a loser."
You can say:
"But this loser won't get benched for the rest of soccer season."
If someone says:
"If you were a good friend, you would."
You can say:
"A good friend wouldn't try to make a friend do something they weren't comfortable with."
Try it yourself!
If someone says: "Only babies are scared to stay out late."
What would you say?


These folks will try to come up with reasons why it's okay to do what they're doing or what they want you to do. But their logic doesn't usually make sense, or they wouldn't have to push so hard.


If someone says:
"Your parents will never find out."
You can say:
"Right. You obviously don't know my parents."
If someone says:
"You'll have more fun."
You can say:
"I don't need to drink/smoke to have fun."
"If it's so fun, I'd think you'd be happy to keep it for yourself."
"I think I'd have more fun if I [went somewhere safe that you like going: the movies, a friends' house, to play a game, etc]."
Try it yourself!
If someone says: "Cigarettes can't hurt you."
What would you say?

You can also use diversion tactics, like by making a joke: "I can't. I have to meet Blink-182 for a jam session later tonight." Or you can use flattery: "You're way too smart for that."

But sometimes it's best to just keep it simple. You can say: "No, thanks. I don't want to" or "I don't feel like it." You're talking about yourself, so they can't really argue.

Getting out of the situation will also put an end to the pressure. You can suggest something else to do, or go hang out with other pressure-free friends: "No thanks, Angie and I are going to a movie."

Whatever way you go, stand up tall and be proud of yourself for not getting pushed into something you know is a bad idea.