March 29th, 2013 19:23 EST
An Important Lesson About Peer Pressure
It was difficult for me to deal with my fears and anxieties and the peer pressure from my friends. Dealing with fear and anxiety on a regular basis was very difficult let alone trying to live up to my expectations from people I knew. I realized that everyone has to deal with some kind of peer pressure in their lives however I found some effective ways in dealing with this issue. Here is what I did to manage the anxieties of dealing with peer pressure.
The most important thing I learned was to stand for what I believed in. For instance, a former manager tried to get me to drink a lot at one of those happy hours after work. I was new at my job and wanted to make a good impression. I also knew that I would have to drive home and I was dead set in not drinking in driving. I had to make a choice. I could please my macho boss and risk getting behind the car or tell my boss No ". My boss was not happy. After a few months, I never saw him again.
When I was at Penn State, I sometimes hung out with some people who went to the fraternities and Sororities. They liked me and I liked them. The pressures of drinking and trying to fit were there. I was invited to hang out with their groups of friends. I was never a heavy drinker and I stood out. Most of the people that I hung out with drank much more than me. I made a choice to stay sober.
Everyone at that group respected me and they respected my choice. A lot of them liked me even more because I did my thing, I held my ground and I stood tall. For the next three years, I had a very nice time hanging out with my friends who accepted me for who I was. Those same friends were also very helpful in helping me overcome my fears, stresses, and anxieties while I was at Penn State.
Two similar situations with two different outcomes.
I learned that you have to be happy with who you are. You do not need to impress anyone to have a good time or to have friends. It is not fun to be alone and there is always that pressure to fit in, but at what price are you willing to go to fit in.
Your best bet is to find people who will accept you for who you are. It is better to be alone than to hang out with people who pretend to like you or force you do something that will get you into trouble. Remember that if you get into trouble, you will suffer the consequences and not your friends. It is not fun to be with people who do not accept you for who you are.
Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman`s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/