Peer Pressure: The Pros and Cons

Peer+Pressure%3A+The+Pros+and+Cons

https://www.unsplash.com @Andres Siimon

Ethan Bird ‘24, Staff Writer

Peer Pressure. A seemingly simple topic that becomes deeper and much more complicated, the more you look into it. The textbook definition of peer pressure is an influence from members of one’s peer group (Oxford Languages). Now, what does this mean for us? It means that people are generally trying to relate and be similar to people in their group, whether that be a church group or a voting poll, people don’t want to be seen as “different” or “weird” to people similar to them. 

This need for similarity can lead to many different outcomes, as each person responds to each situation differently, but there is generally some similar overall reactions across people. There have been experiments in the past on this social conformity, and the way that some people react is surprising to us, but we would most likely do the same thing.

One of the most relatable thing for teenagers that relates to peer pressure is their body image. Teens today can see other people just with the device in their hands, and on this device, they see people like them. It could be a beautiful woman or a muscular man, but despite the kind of person it is, most people have an image of themself that they want to be that is entirely unrealistic. Teens think that if they do this, they can impress everyone they know and be like the cool kids, but they could lose friends and lose themself because they tried to be someone they weren’t.

https://www.unsplash.com @Helena Lopes

Some of the effects of peer pressure can be very different, though. We’ve all heard the most typical troubles like alcohol, but things can be worse. Teens (and adults, for that matter) have been dragged into drugs and smoking/vaping because their friends or group have used them. This outcome often happens to people because they are under the misconception that it is ok to try a one-time experience. After all, their friend told them it was alright to try it. However, for some, everything can fall downhill from there. 

Alternatively, peer pressure can also rope people into developing positive habits. The most prominent of these examples might be the introduction to sports. Involvement in sports can increase physical activity, but it could also push people to be better and practice more because they are motivated by other people to do extra and push their limits.

In an interview with GC student Alex Osteen ‘24, she mentioned something that had not come to mind. “You shouldn’t do things with friends that you wouldn’t do on your own.” This approach is an excellent way to regulate yourself and stop you from doing things that you don’t think are good for you. Simultaneously, be open to the things you see as good, and be welcoming to change; nevertheless, be careful of how you change.

“You shouldn’t do things with friends that you wouldn’t do on your own.””

— Alex Osteen ‘24

People want to be better and to fit in; this is just part of being human. It’s up to each person to decide how they choose to fit in and what they choose to avoid.