Peer pressure can be a horrible thing, but what’s worse it can affect us at various stages of our lives. It’s something we may have thought had left us in school, but no, you’ll find it in work, in the pub and even among friends.

As we get older, it’s more likely to get a little more serious, revolving around the likes of sex, drugs and alcohol and if you are finding yourself being pressured into taking the likes of cocaine or drinking alcohol, then it’s probably a good idea to take action. But what exactly can you do? They’re your friends, after all…

Assertively Decline

Of course, the first and most effective way to try and resolve the situation is to be assertive in your response and to decline the invitation. It’s worth avoiding being aggressive or confrontational, but being clear and remaining firm in your stance is key. You can express your reasoning, and if they are your friends they should ultimately respect that.

Suggest Alternatives

If they continue to pressure you, it may be worth suggesting alternative activities to the typical environments in which you are being asked the question. For example, if you’re being pressured into taking drugs when going to the pub or to a football game, it may be worth suggesting some other activities where it’s less likely to be the case. For example, you could consider experience days or heading out on a walk or trying a new skill. This will help shift the focus away from drugs and allow you a much better social experience and connection with your friends.

Surround Yourself with Supportive Peers

It may be that you seek help from elsewhere and find others that share similar values to you. Friendships that are being cultivated around peer pressure aren’t healthy and can cause real damage, so it may be that you decide to take the step away and find groups of people that are supportive, like-minded and encourage healthier choices.

Think about your interests and find groups that match. For example, if you’re a keen runner head to a running club. They’re always welcoming and are a brilliant community to be a part of.

Set Boundaries

Communicating your boundaries from the off may allow you to nip the peer pressure in the bud quite quickly and you may also be able to help other people not succumb and make the same call too. By upholding your boundaries and allowing friends to understand what’s unacceptable to you will enable you to not compromise your values and send a clear message. If they continue to pressure you, then it’s certainly worth reevaluating their friendship.

Seek Support from Charities and Groups

If you find it a little overwhelming or are unsure on what to do, there are plenty of action lines, counsellors and support groups that can help. It may actually be that you’re worried about your friends and you believe they need help. In which case, you may want to look at staging an intervention and receiving help with that.

It can be a challenging period, but if you seek help you can find both the right solution for you, and the right solution for your friends.


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