Peer pressure occurs when a person or group influences another person’s behavior. If you’ve ever been pressured to do something you don’t want to do—you’ve experienced peer pressure. Peer pressure is a common part of growing up, and makes healthy decision making that much harder.
GET YOUR SWAG ON
What if you’re being pressured? SWAG is an acronym that represents the steps you need to resist peer pressure.
STOP and SAY NO
Stop – Take a deep breath and think about why you don’t want to go any further. STOPPING is a good first step towards an effective conversation.
Say No – Don’t assume that people can read your mind. You need to say no, and say it like you mean it. People should respect you as soon as you STOP and SAY NO. If they continue to pressure you—you have every right to leave.
If you’ve decided it is best for you to wait until you are ready to have sex, this is a decision you must stick to and one your partner must respect. After you say no, you can give your partner a reason why. Some examples might be:
- I’m just not ready.
- I’m not ready to be a parent.
- I don’t want to worry about STD’s.
- Our relationship is fine without sex.
If you are experiencing pressure to drugs or alcohol, some examples might include:
- I don’t want to put that junk in my body.
- I don’t need that stuff to have a good time.
- I could get in serious trouble for doing this.
- I care way too much about my future and don’t want to mess it up by doing this.
Remember, it’s OK to say you don’t want to do something!
AVOID the situation and offer ALTERNATIVES.
Avoid – Don’t put yourself in a situation where you might be tempted to have sex or use drugs/alcohol. Avoid these risky, high pressure situations like being alone with your partner when no one is home, or being at a party with drugs and alcohol. If you avoid these types of situations, you are less likely to end up doing something you regret.
Alternatives – Show your friends you care about them. Think of some things to do instead of engaging in risky behaviors. Some examples might include: “Let’s go to the movies.” “Let’s go get something to eat.”
GET OUT of an unsafe situation
Get Out – If you feel unsafe, be prepared to leave. If people are not respecting your feelings, pressuring you, or becoming violent, you should leave.
Go Do Something Fun – If your friends aren’t respecting your decisions to NOT engage in risky behaviors, change the conversation to something you all enjoy doing, like, going to the movies or playing video games.
It can be hard to resist pressure from the people we care about or respect. SWAG is a great tool for avoiding risky situations. If you find yourself continually being pressured, reevaluate who your friends are.
PICKING YOUR FRIENDS
Friends play a huge role in your life. So you want to choose wisely when picking your friends. Falling into the wrong group can have serious consequences.
Positive Peer Pressure
- Developing healthy friendships can help you in a number of ways.
- Positive peer pressure can motivate you to succeed and encourage you to make healthy choices.
- Your friends can act as positive role models.
- They can listen, accept and understand the frustrations, challenges and concerns you have.
Negative Peer Pressure
- A lot of people want to be accepted.
- Making friends is a way to feel like you fit in. But if the friends you choose make unhealthy choices, you may feel pressured to make those same decisions.
- Negative peer pressure can motivate people to make unhealthy choices and engage in risky behaviors like smoking, drinking and having unprotected sex.
HOW TO GET HELP
Talk to a trusted adult such as a parent, physician or counselor.
Call Centerstone at (888) 291-HELP to schedule an appointment with a therapist. If you feel like you need immediate help, please call (800) 681-7444 for 24-hour Crisis Services.