At some point in life, we all come face to face with social pressure. We are all humans and have this desire to feel like you are a part of a group or the desire to fit in.
For example, have you ever dealt with a group of friends who have tried to push you to do something that you have never done before?
Or maybe scrolling on social media makes you feel like you are not doing enough because you see everyone either traveling or making business moves?
Or maybe your parents have an expectation of where you should be and you feel pressured to follow the path even though it’s not a passion of yours?
These are all different examples of social pressure and if you are interested in learning different ways to deal with social pressure, then keep reading!
Before we dive right into the tips, let’s first understand what social pressure is exactly!
What is Social Pressure?
Social pressure is when a person or a group influences what you do or think.
In the dictionary, social pressure is the same as peer pressure, but as time has passed, we can all agree that social pressure includes many things
It makes up a variety of pressures such as:
- Peer pressure
- Academic pressure
- Socioeconomic pressure
- Social Media Pressure
This type of pressure can be both negative and positive because the people around you can influence good and bad behaviors.
Keep reading to learn about examples of what this could look like!
What Causes Social Pressure?
Social pressure is normal and a natural construct of life! Everyone goes through it and it’s around us all the time!
It is first introduced to us when we are growing up because we are getting to learn who we are.
So, we rely on the interactions around us to help us mature!
“Fitting in feels good, even at the expense of your otherwise good sense(s)–and we may pay an emotional price for the courage of our convictions.”– Arthur Dobrin, D.S.W.
It eventually evolves into the desire to want to fit in and be liked by those around us.
So, we choose to go with the flow and do things that sometimes we don’t understand or are completely comfortable with.
As we grow into adults, it’s not as prevalent, but it is still present especially with how prominent social media is right now.
Social media has such an influence on all of us whether we like to admit it or not.
A simple ad on Instagram or Facebook influences our behavior to buy a product.
So, imagine how much of an impact seeing our close friends posting about business opportunities or your favorite singer posting about how much they love a popular tv show has on us!
This is all social pressure and we are all influenced by it!
The only thing is that we have to determine if what is pressuring us is a positive or negative influence.
What Are Examples of Social Pressure?
- A celebrity on social media is reading a self-help book and it motivates you to also read it.
- Your roommate is staying in on a Friday night to study for a midterm exam and it pressures you into doing the same.
- Your friend practices yoga every day and you are considering trying it out as well.
- Your dad is a hard worker and it motivates you to strive to work hard too.
- You see that many people on your Instagram feed are traveling while you are working a 9-5 which makes you feel like you aren’t living a full life.
- Your entire family has the expectation for you to pursue a specific career path due to success rate, family tradition, etc. and it makes you feel like this is what you HAVE to do.
- Your group of friends is all skipping class to go get a few drinks and it pressures you to follow them to avoid being “uncool”.
- A classmate badgers you about helping them cheat on a test and you allow them to.
As you can see, there are ways people around you can influence you in a good and bad way!
I am sure many of you can at least relate to one of the examples listed above and you can agree that when you are in the face of this pressure, it is hard to say no for many reasons.
I have been there and understand what you are going through.
It’s important for you to take control of your actions, but it’s not something that you can just do instantly.
Below I have a few tips on how you can deal with social pressure and how you can gain control of your actions when you’re in the moment!
It’s going to be a learning process and will take time, so be patient with yourself and gradually make progress towards regaining control!
How Do You Deal With Social Pressure?
When we deal with social pressure, it can be really hard because no matter which way you go, it doesn’t feel right.
If you give into the pressure, you may feel guilty and uncomfortable, but you also feel a part of the group which is something that we all love.
We enjoy connecting with people and being able to relate to someone.
On the other hand, if you say no and do what you have set your mind to, you may feel sad and if your friends make fun of you for it, that could result in a decline in your self-esteem and increase negative thoughts.
So, of course, many of us choose to go with the flow because being badgered and not fitting in can be mentally exhausting.
But, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to follow what others are doing if you aren’t comfortable with it.
Here are 8 tips that will help you deal with social pressure:
1. Acknowledge How It Makes You Feel
Pay attention to how you feel in these moments. If your gut is telling you it isn’t right, don’t force yourself to do it.
It can always be good to ask yourself in the moment how it makes you feel or try to pinpoint the cause of your feelings.
At first it can be hard to do this, so try writing down how you feel in a journal and asking yourself what emotions these situations evoke!
Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Naturally
2. Understand That It’s Okay To Say No
When we say no, we often times feel very guilty and feel the need to explain why. But we shouldn’t have to explain and we especially shouldn’t have to apologize for something we don’t want to do.
Of course not all social pressure will be in person, so sometimes you have to tell yourself no and it will be an emotional and mental battle with yourself if it is something on the internet influencing you.
To get use to saying no, try writing down a few excuses you can use to avoid the situation.
For example, if you aren’t trying to drink you can say “I have to wake up early in the morning”.
The important thing is though is that you have slowly build up to just saying “No”. So from there you can then move up to saying “Not this time”. Then as time moves on you will be more comfortable with saying “No”.
Learning to say no is one of the most efficient, but hardest ways to deal with social pressure, so be patient with yourself while you are learning to do so.
3. Accept That The Only Person You HAVE To Please Is Yourself
Humans are naturally people pleasers! So, it is normal for your instinct to be to want to go along with what everyone else is doing!
But, you should try reminding yourself that the only opinion that matters in your life is your own!
Strive to make yourself proud and happy, not those around you!
You try doing this by saying positive affirmations everyday!
Here are a few that you may like:
“ I am in control of my own actions and thoughts.”
“ I will do things that make me happy.”
“ I will focus on making myself proud.”
Positive affirmations are a great way to push out negative thoughts and can really help build your self-esteem.
If you would like to learn more about positive affirmations you can read more about it here!
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that is all about focusing on being aware of your feelings and your surroundings.
By practicing this regularly, you would be able to be in tune with your emotions which can help you to gain more control over what you choose to do in these moments.
Alongside that, an article by Harvard stated that mindfulness “creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events”.
Therefore, this will help you immensely as dealing with social pressure has to do with addressing your mental and emotional well-being.
5. Avoid People & Situations That Make You Feel This Way
A great way to deal with social pressure is to let go of those people who are causing that type of stress.
I know that is easier said than done, but it definitely will give you a peace of mind.
If you aren’t comfortable with this, maybe just try avoiding them until you feel you are comfortable enough to say no when they do pressure you.
The same goes for being online, just simply block whoever is making you feel down about yourself or is pressuring you to engage in unhealthy or unsafe activities.
If it is a family member or someone who you really can’t let go of, try sitting them down and telling them how they make you feel.
If they love you, they will hear you out and understand that they should stop making you feel this way.
It will take time for them to get use to it as well, so be patient and be vocal about how you are feeling!
6. Set Boundaries
Another option that will help you deal with social pressure is to set boundaries with your friends or family members!
In general, we should all really have boundaries set to ensure that we don’t cross certain lines and to maintain healthy relationships.
So try to sit down with your friend or send a friendly text to tell them about your boundaries.
If it is someone on social media, I think a great way to set boundaries is to set a timer on your phone for how long you can be on social media!
You can do this on your iPhone in the settings under the tab “Screentime”.
If this is too open still, maybe try muting the user that is influencing you.
7. Surround Yourself With People With Similar Values
Who else can agree that when someone else agrees with you, it’s 100x easier to say no to it?!
Make the active choice to be around people who want to do things you like and are comfortable with doing!
If you have these type of friends, you can always tag them along with you when you’re around your friends who pressure you to do things you aren’t comfortable with.
This can work in the way that the “similar value” friend will say no to an activity, which will make it much easier for you to say no without feeling guilty.
You can always communicate to your “similar value” friend that you have trouble with saying no to the “peer pressure” friends.
So, you can have them there for support and create a secret code to let them know when you do not want to do something.
Some may think this is “extra”, but this can be extremely helpful and uplifting for those who only have friends that pressure them to do things they don’t like.
8. Talk To Someone You Trust Or To A Professional About It
It’s always a great choice to talk to someone about how you feel if you are trying to find ways to deal with social pressure.
It’s very relieving to be heard and listened to, so don’t be afraid to vent to someone you trust about how you’re feeling.
If you don’t have someone that you feel would listen to you, there are so many sources where you can find a therapist to talk to online or in your area!
Here are a few you can check out:
I hope you found this article helpful and will use some of these tips in the future!
Leave a comment below if you have ever experience social pressure, I would love to hear from you and want you to know that you are not alone at all & how you feel is valid!
Also, if you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it with someone who needs it!