Adult Peer Pressure – it’s Real!
It’d be nice to think that school time playground antics can be left there, but it seems sometimes as we grow older, certain things remain. We so often associate peer pressure with being a teenager and falling in line, doing things we don’t want to do, just to impress our friends. This, of course, is written off as the ignorance of youth, us not yet having developed the skills to stand firm in our decisions. But now that we’re adults, we should be able to do that, right?
I’ve never really been a follow-the-crowd type of person. Not being accepted or being criticised for going against the grain has never really bothered me. I’ve been comfortable with my choices and I recall being the same way since a teen. It’s always baffled me when I meet people who are scared to speak up about their unhappiness in a situation because they feel weirdly pressured to be involved. They get swept up in something they don’t want to do when really a simple conversation and sticking to your guns can solve that whole problem.
I notice it most with alcohol consumption in adults. When people find out I don’t drink, a conversation invariably ensues. Everyone is fascinated by this fact. It’s fairly benign to me – there’s no grand back story, no alcoholism in my family, no bad experience while out drinking – I just don’t drink and never have. People find that oddly intimidating when I tell them and it’s mainly because they can’t quite believe I’ve withstood the social pressure to do so. When we get down to the nitty gritty, people will often tell me, they actually don’t even enjoy drinking that much, they just can’t imagine what they’d do in a social situation if they didn’t.
The pressure to drink seems to be crazy. I’ve experienced it myself when people just can’t get their head around the fact that I don’t. I’ve had people buy me shots, despite me saying several times I will not drink them, I’ve had people spike my drinks with alcohol I guess to try to prove some kind of crazy point. While some people are understanding of my decision, others seem to have a serious issue with it.
What I’ve figured out is that when people are weak and can’t stand firm in their own choices, it actually really pisses them off when someone else can. I’ve never found it hard to not drink, or to say no to any situation I’m not comfortable with, but I do understand for others it’s not as easy.
Why is it we can’t just accept the decisions of our peers? We are not in high school anymore, we do not need to be part of a gang. Embrace your individuality, stand firmly and comfortably in it, be confident in your decisions and what’s right for you. You don’t always need others to chime in with their advice and opinions. Bottom line, no one knows you like you do, so look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘we got this!’