How to Overcome Peer Pressure in College
One experience that we have probably all endured whether in high school or college, is peer pressure. Peer pressure in some form or extent happens to everybody, and it can be very hard to overcome. Whether it is drinking, sneaking out, or something to a lesser degree, it is always uncomfortable being in a situation where your friends (or other people) are encouraging you to do something that you don’t want to do, or wouldn’t normally do on your own. Although I’m still very young, I have learned some things that have helped me overcome peer pressure in the past, so I will share some of those with you:
1. Stay true to who you are.
This might seem cliche and not very helpful, but it can go a long way when you remind yourself that it is not worth compromising who you are for someone else. In the long run, your confidence will grow stronger from unapologetically being yourself even in tough situations.
2. In most cases, people will respect you more for sticking to your morals.
Even in stressful scenarios, like being on your own for the first time, you know your morals and what you’re comfortable doing. Usually when people pressure others, it is out of low self-esteem. If you stand firm in your beliefs and morals, they will most likely back off because people tend to bother others who they think will be easy targets. Once you stand firm in your morals, not only will you gain the respect of others, but you will also gain more respect for yourself.
3. You will naturally click the best with people that have similar morals and interests.
Most friendships are heavily based on similar interests. For example, some of my best friends in high school were my softball teammates. Once I got to college, making friends looked a lot different because people didn’t already know who I was; I had to get to know completely new people. However, even in college, I have found people that have similar likes and hobbies as me, as well as similar personality traits. One of the key aspects of a friendship is feeling comfortable with each other. If you are always feeling pressured to do things you don’t want to, chances are you just weren’t meant to be close friends, and that is okay. You will eventually find friends who you can be completely yourself around without having to worry about them pressuring or judging you.
4. Have more than one friend group or circle.
Having more than one group of friends is very helpful in general because this way, you can have completely different connections with more people. Also, you can experience different friend dynamics. For example, in high school I had my friends at school, and my friends at church. These friendships each brought different things to the table that made me part of who I am today. Having more than one circle of friends also makes you learn how you connect best to people, whether it be through similar hobbies or similar personalities. This relates to peer pressure because if one friend group is prone to pressuring you into doing things you don’t want to, you always have a separate group of friends that you can rely on.
Overall, learning how to overcome peer pressure is an important part of finding yourself and finding people you can be comfortable around as you walk through life.