What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is the influence you feel from a person or group of people to do something you might not otherwise consider doing.
It’s not uncommon to want to be part of a group and feel like you belong in a community, especially if you are new or less experience than the people around you.
Peer pressure often happens because you don’t want to be alone or left out. So you go with what other people think in order for them to include you. A peer can be anyone around the same age-as you, like a friend, classmate, or even someone you seen on TV and admire. You might try to live up to people’s expectations, but it’s important to be mindful to not have other people’s expectations cloud what you want.
How does peer pressure affect us?
Peer pressure isn’t always a negative thing. It can be a positive influence and help challenge or motivate you to do your best. However, it’s helpful to recognize that peer pressure can also be negative. It can result in you doing something that doesn’t fit with your sense of right and wrong.
Peer pressure might influence you in a number of ways, including:
- Fashion choices
- Alcohol and drug use
- Decision to have a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Choice of who your friends are
- Academic performance
Peer Pressure in Indian Education
People tend to create their own definitions these days, definitions that go beyond the meanings made available in conventional dictionaries; definitions of what needs to be done, what ought to be done and what is the ‘cool’ thing to do. Especially as a student in formative years in schools and colleges, we come to be greatly affected by and in turn, influence those in our seemingly large worlds, often unconsciously. Society and the process of socialisation instil in us from the very beginning the need to be accepted, especially by those around us, to follow certain dos and don’ts. In this regard, peer pressure is a very important part of socialisation.
I’m not saying peer pressure is necessarily bad. It’s just that when we, out of either compulsion or choice, spend a lot of our time with certain people, they often end up impacting us more than they should be. It is in fact often unconscious. There is no harm in learning good stuff from our school and college mates, as long as it’s about discipline, drive or focus. Peer pressure begins to harm when it overshadows the ‘I’ in you. You begin to speak the language that you’ve been told is cool. You stop thinking for/about yourself. Just like alcohol, or drugs, it is a matter of being a part of the ‘hep’ gang in school or college. The primary motive behind this is, not being one of those annoying spoilsports and often most of us fall prey to the ‘herd mentality’.
I don’t think it is right to condemn or look down upon those who succumb to peer pressure in terms of education or career choices. It is a fairly easy way of dealing with stress in life. And it is better than substance abuse, for sure. The only problem is you feel as sick with the results, probably more, and for much longer
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