Is peer pressure a real thing? Here's how you can identify it

We have all succumbed to peer pressure at some point in out life. Despite its widespread use, there is still much disagreement over whether peer pressure is a genuine phenomena. Here's what the term means and the impact it has on our lives

Dr Chandni TugnaitUpdated: Saturday, August 06, 2022, 09:11 PM IST
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Peer pressure is a real phenomenon, that much is obvious. The urge to follow what our friends or peers are doing, even if we aren't fully comfortable with it, is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives.

Despite its widespread use, there is still much disagreement over whether peer pressure is a genuine phenomena. Some claim that it's only the result of our personal decisions and choices, while others insist that it's a genuine societal force that has the power to affect our behaviour. On the one hand, psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to follow the social standards of their group in order to fit in. However, some experts contend that additional variables, such as the desire to appease superiors or the fear of rejection, might also account for conformist behaviour. Here are a few examples of how peer pressure can impact an individual:

It can make you do things you wouldn't normally do: Anything from trying a new drug to vandalising property could fall under this category. Naturally, not all peer pressure is harmful. You can have pressure to perform a good deed, such as studying for an exam or giving back to the community. In either case, peer pressure can have a significant effect on your behaviour as well as your life's decisions.

It can make you change your appearance: Your looks may alter as a result of peer pressure. You might experience pressure to dress a specific way or wear your hair a certain way, for instance. You might even go so far as to get pierced or get a tattoo. Changing your look is not intrinsically immoral, to reiterate. However, it's crucial to act appropriately and not to meet someone else's expectations.

It can make you change your opinions: Peer pressure frequently causes you to change your thoughts and beliefs. For instance, you can experience peer pressure to start endorsing a certain sports team or to adopt the political philosophies of your friends. Of all, it's entirely typical for people to develop new perspectives as they age. However, it might be worthwhile to reevaluate your motivations if you discover that you frequently alter your beliefs in order to conform to those of your peers.

It can make you take risks: Sometimes peer pressure can push people to engage in unhealthy behaviours or take unwarranted risks. You might experience pressure to drive dangerously or engage in unsafe sexual behaviour, for instance. It's crucial to understand the hazards involved before engaging in these kinds of activities because they can certainly have major repercussions.

It can make you feel bad about yourself: It's important to remember that peer pressure occasionally has a detrimental effect on your self-esteem. It can cause feelings of uncertainty and low self-worth if you continuously compare yourself to your pals and feel like you fall short. Even worse, it may cause long-term relationship harm and anxiety or worry.

(Dr. Chandni Tugnait, M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist)

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