We all face a variety of pressures every day, many of which can undermine our goals if we allow them. Learning to handle peer pressure in high school will not only help you to avoid poor choices now; it helps you to develop powerful tools that will serve you for the rest of your life. Use these strategies to set firm boundaries with friends, and keep yourself out of trouble and on track toward a bright future.
Remember that “everyone” is not doing anything. There are few activities in the world in which “everyone” is participating. Learn to see beyond localized situations, and look at the big picture. No, everyone is not doing it. Even if they were, you’re not “everyone”. You are you, and you define your values.
Avoid negative situations. If a particular person or situation is likely to present you with peer pressure, choose to avoid them/it. Learn to steer your own ship toward less troubled waters.
Use eye contact. When you say no, use eye contact and a confident voice. Most people won’t continue to push, once you’ve established an assertive stance.
Choose the right friends. If you have close friends who share your values, stick close to them (especially at parties and other large social situations).
Choose your role models carefully. Ask yourself who you admire in your personal life; a family friend, a favorite teacher, a famous athlete, or a local celebrity? What choices would they make? What would they tell you about this situation?
Flip the script. If your friend is pressuring you to do something, start asking them questions. Why is this thing so important to them? Aren’t they aware of the consequences? Don’t they care about their grades, health, future, or other area of their life that could be impacted?
Be mindful of your emotions. Examine how you’re feeling in the moment. Do you feel lonely, scared, sad, or some other negative emotion? When we’re feeling bad, it’s much easier to give into poor influences.
Focus on your goals. It’s easy to fall prey to peer pressure when you haven’t defined your own goals. What’s important to you? What do you want to achieve this month, this year, and in the future? Focus on those goals and make choices that support them.
Seek support. Don’t repress your feelings. If something is bothering you, seek support from a parent, guidance counselor, teacher, therapist, or trusted friend. The people who love you want you to succeed, and are will help you make wise choices.