Peer pressure isn't always a positive thing. Sometimes, it can be negative and the people involved may not even realize what they're doing and how it's affecting those around them.
Negative peer pressure is defined as: "Pressure from peers to behave in ways consistent with their suggestions, such as taking drugs or engaging in delinquent behavior", or "the influence exerted by peers on the individual's beliefs, attitudes, or values."
Refusing negative peer pressure is not always easy, but the more people are aware of it, the more able they are to avoid it.
Pressure from friends and peers should never make someone change themselves, nor should anyone feel like they have to jeopardize their health or safety in order to be accepted. People should feel like they don't have to do anything that could hurt them physically, financially, emotionally, and mentally.
There are things that people can do in order to avoid negative peer pressure:
1. Know when negative peer pressure is happening
This may seem somewhat obvious; however, people may have a hard time figuring out when they are being pressured. People should be confident in themselves and know their limits so there won't be an issue of not knowing when they will give in to pressure or how much they will do. Knowing limitations is important for both the person pressuring others as well as those who are receiving pressure.
2. Open up
One of the most difficult things for a person to do is to be open about what they're feeling and how they feel. This can make them seem vulnerable; however, it is necessary in order to stand one's ground.
3. Acknowledge pressure
Know who you allow around you , don't associate with people who are negative influences, and stay away from places where trouble can happen.
4. Say "no"
If someone is feeling pressure to do something they do not want to do or feel uncomfortable doing, it is okay to say "no." It may seem difficult for some people because of the fear that they will be alienated, but resisting negative peer pressure can be a positive thing that allows them to strengthen their boundaries and self-esteem.
5. Do what makes someone happy
This may seem a little odd for a list of ways to avoid negative peer pressure, but it's important. If someone is doing something they love or are passionate about, this will take away the feeling that they have to do something in order to fit in.
6. Stand up for someone
If one's friend is being pressured by individuals, it may be difficult for them to go against others; however, friends should let their friends know if they don't feel uncomfortable doing what everyone else wants them to do.
7. Know when it's okay to bend the rules
Sometimes, in order to avoid intense pressure and conflict in a situation, someone may feel as if they have to give in and do something. This is not always bad; however, those who are pressured need to be sure that what they're doing will not cause them any problems or hurt anyone else.
8. Take a break
Taking breaks during situations that may be more intense can be helpful. It allows people time to clear their head and get themselves together before they make any choices of whether or not they want to do something. This also gives them time to think about what is truly happening and how it will affect their lives in the long run.
Sometimes, people will feel as if they can't say "no" because of who is pressuring them or how intense the situation is; however, it's important for them to remember that saying "no" is okay and it may actually lead to a positive outcome such as being more confident in their choices and feeling empowered. No one should feel like they have to do anything that could hurt them.