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What is peer pressure and how do recognise it?

Peer pressure is the direct or indirect influence on people by peers, members of social groups with similar interests, experiences or social statuses.

This is a process that can significantly change your day-to-day experiences, including how you act, in a negative or positive way.

Negative peer pressure is not an easy thing to deal with, and it can be extremely difficult to resist. It can involve a plethora of different scenarios, ranging from situations such as a someone pressuring you to skip a day of school, to someone convincing you to try drugs. It can occur from friends, family, and other people who you may look up to. Peer pressure could lead you into crime or committing immoral acts and such acts could end up damaging your future and leading you down an unambitious path. On this account, it is crucial to remember if someone is trying to convince you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable in doing, it is possible and okay to say no. You can practice saying ‘No’, to build your level of assertiveness as this is fundamental to not fall into the effects of peer pressure.

However, there are some upsides to peer pressure once it takes a positive form. This could lead you to become a better person as it prevents you from taking risks you may have set yourself to or been exposed to. For example, within school you may have been set homework, but because you didn’t do it on the deadline, you feel as though you shouldn’t do it at all. A trustworthy friend would ease you into completing it and remind you of your responsibility as a student. This is also a sign of peer pressure, but a situation like this can be beneficial to you, so it is important to be able to recognise when someone is looking out for you, rather than trying to coax you into acting in a way that is detrimental to you.

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