It’s an age-old conundrum with a surprisingly simplistic solution: Just say no! Peer Pressure: From Adolescence to Adulthood the answer is the same.
The “art of saying no” is not an easily learned skill for many, and acceptance and social normalization are often paramount to our feeling good about ourselves—even when the consequences of our actions may be unauthentic, deleterious or destructive.
I asked my daughters for insights on how they deal with peer pressure and got some rather illustrious advice that resonates no matter what your age or circumstance:
“Don’t change yourself to make people like you. Although there will always be the desire to ‘fit in,’ people must realize that it isn’t worth it.”
“Peer pressure won’t just come from your enemies, but your friends, as well. It takes strength to stand up to a friend. Not giving in is very hard.”
“Common mistakes are lying or making up an excuse as to why you can’t do something. This is absolutely the wrong way to go about it because the person pressuring you will often not get the message.”
“Be direct and learn how to say no. People need to learn to listen to themselves and stand up for what they believe is right.”
While the lessons learned are often the most difficult, integrity and unwavering courage in the face of adversity can be most satisfying when dealing with peer pressure. My advice? Stick to your guns, nurture a culture of direct communication, and master the “art of saying no.”