Hi guys! Recently I have been thinking about what I want to achieve by my next birthday, in June. By this point I will have finished my GCSEs (HURRAH!!), but I have a lot to do between now and then… Including actually DOING the dreaded G-word. But reflecting on this got me onto peer pressure, and how (or not) influential it has been to me and my friends’ lives.
Peer pressure can be a good thing. Obviously this depends on what the situation is, but a few of my greatest (I say lightly) achievements have been caused by friends (gently) pushing me to do it. Like this blog. While I had lots of suggestions from my parents and a teacher or two, I still needed a gentle prod from even one friend to tell me, yes, I could actually do this. Now, people who know me know I’m not a weak person, and that when I want to achieve something I will do whatever I can to get the job done, (yes, I will even call myself stubborn), but with this blog, I felt a bit scared to be honest. Putting my work and technically speaking parts of my life onto the internet for people to read whenever they wanted, who could either love it or hate it, for me, that was kind of intimidating. I wasn’t sure if anyone would read one post, let alone follow me or anything like that at all, so finally doing it took a bit more effort. I guess like with anything creative; I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I think I needed the security from a friend for that final push.
While the gentle pressure from my peers has been good to me in certain cases, peer pressure can be a serious issue, especially amongst teenagers and, worryingly, increasingly young ‘tweens’. Not only does it mean you are forced or guilt-tripped into doing something you don’t want to do or think is wrong, you could be put into a dangerous situation or get in serious trouble, maybe even with the police. Parties are a major issue when it comes to this. As well as, in most cases, the guests are under the influence of alcohol, which already makes them more susceptible to being ‘persuaded’ into doing something, like thinking “it will be fine” to go off with that random person you just met five seconds ago. This is especially targeted at girls as, unfortunately, girls are much more likely to be a victim in these situations. I’m not criticising anyone who has done this, but I am saying that it is alright to say no. Don’t listen to what anybody else says if your gut instinct is telling you not to. Do what you believe is right and safe, and if you think the person, or what you are being told to do, is in the slightest bit dodgy, say no.
The classic “let me get you a drink”. I think alcohol is a common example for people of about my age. Even if it is not explicitly said that you have to drink, I feel, from my experiences, that it is more or less expected of teenagers nowadays to drink at parties. But just because you are at a party where probably most of your friends are drinking, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, just say no. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but don’t let that stop you from having fun. Just because you don’t want to drink or smoke, doesn’t mean you can’t go to the parties. Go and enjoy yourself, be brave and strong. Your liver will thank you in 10 or so years time!!
Never be afraid to be true to yourself, and live life to the fullest – but to your morals. No one should be able to decide how you live your life. Whether you want to go and get drunk all the time, or if you want to curl up in bed with your favourite tv show, do it because you want to. (As long as it’s not illegal!!)
I hope you enjoyed this, and please leave a comment about any pressures you have encountered that you wish to share, be it directly or indirectly, for good or for bad. And remember, be proud to be you!