While some peer pressure pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps your personal development, there are times where a part of you says that what you’re doing is wrong, morally unjust, and simply not something you’d really want to do.
When that happens, you know it's time to play your "Sorry, it’s a NO" card. (Don't know about the different types of peer pressure? Read more here.)
Want to say no but not too sure how? Well, not to worry! We've just the comprehensive guide you've been searching for.
Yes, we know it’s not exactly 'easy'.
You could practice it a million times in front of a mirror and still have a hard time pulling the words out from the back of your throat. This hasn’t really been addressed anywhere, but giving out a flat ‘no’ can come across as rude to many people. So it’s crucial to coin your rejection properly, using replies like "Sorry. No, I can’t. I have plans today," or "Nah, thanks! But I’m good."
Using friendly phrasing and apologetic words and tone are an easy way to slide that rejection in without necessarily offending anyone.
But remember, the key word is ‘no’, and it should be conveyed across properly in a gentle but firm manner. In a way that says, "I-feel-bad (even if you have to fake it)-but-don’t-argue-with-my-choice".
Remember, your consent is always key in every situation.
You know who else has a moral code? Batman.
Yup, that’s right! The Dark Knight himself has a code when fighting Gotham’s bad guys on a daily basis by refraining from ever killing them, no matter how evil the villain is.
Okay, so you don’t have to have a no-murder-code (because that’s an unspoken policy you should already be following) but you can figure out what’s morally right for you and what’s something you never wish to partake in (hint: four-letter word that starts with a ‘D’ and ends with JAILTIME).
Saying no may not be all-too-convincing if you don’t really know what you want. Hence, a moral code is a way for you to know your limits and how far you can go.
Remember, experimenting is not the same as partaking in unlawful or shameful things for the sake of clout or social acceptance. You can join the hype by all means but it doesn't make you more ‘cooler’ or ‘trendier’ if you’ve done something that most people have. It just makes you more cliche or, how the kids these days like to call it?
Yup, I said it. Sue me.
Hello??? It’s 2020!
Ain't nobody got time for toxic friendships! Especially the ones who look down on you or belittle your interests.
If the friendship consists of catty comments, sarcasm and veiled bullying, then it’s out the door they go! Aside from forcing you or guilt-tripping you into doing things you’re probably not entirely comfortable with, you’re not exactly gaining anything from the friendship other than new and bad experiences.
You want validation? That’s not where you should look.
Typically, self-validation is most ideal because it cancels out insecurity and doubt. But if that’s something that’s hard to come by naturally, then maybe it’s time to find a new and better clique.
After all, birds of a feather flock together. The crowd you hang out with really says a lot about who you are as a person so it's time to pick your friends right.
Starting afresh is never fun, nor a piece of cake, especially when trying to find the right crowd.
You may not even know where to begin, but to start off, here’s a gist of what you should be seeking:
Friends who respect you and your interests (even if they can’t understand it) as well as accept you and support you in ways true friends would.
Friends who don’t wish to corrupt you (well, not ruin you) or wish to taint your personality with immorality.
Friends who act as role models, who you can trust with your whole ‘package’, without your vulnerable side ever being taken advantage of.
Friends who genuinely enjoy your company and not what they can gain from your companionship.
It sounds fictitious and fanciful, but rest assured these kinds of friends do exist! Don’t dismiss the idea of seeking the right type of friendships just because the toxicity is the commonality. Remember, you’re not seeking idealism or social status, you’re seeking genuinity and warmth. Take a gamble, and never, ever settle for anything less than what you deserve.
Sometimes, you may even be the perpetrator yourself, coercing or guilt-tripping your peers into practicing unhealthy or unlawful activities. Seriously,
DON'T. BE. THAT. PERSON.
You may not have bad intentions or want to cause harm, but you are responsible for inflicting and introducing the ‘pressure’ into someone’s life, and maybe even crippling it essentially. It’s a chain effect after all so taking on a more conscious and understanding approach can nullify any existing distress. It’s also okay to speak up, to ask for help, from anyone you think you can trust really: another friend, your sibling, a parent/guardian or even a guidance counsellor (who’re usually available for consultation in your school or college by appointment).
Don’t let your voice drown in the masses out of fear and rejection. After all, your teen years won’t come back a second time, so be your most authentic, unfiltered and unapologetic self.
Karen Grace Prince is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication (Honours). She is also the Director of Events Committee for the Taylor's Model United Nations Club (TLMUN) and Director of Ext. Operations for TLMUN 2020 Conference Secretariat Team.