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Positive peer pressures

Grace Tripathy, Online Features Editor

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Peers influence your life, even if you don’t realize it. Just by spending time with you; you learn from them, and they learn from you. It’s human nature to listen to and learn from other people that are important to you in your life.

Some kids give into peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other kids might make fun of them if they don’t go along with the group. Others go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that “everyone’s doing it” can influence some kids to leave their better judgment, or their common sense, behind.

While it can be hard to resist peer influences, especially in the heat of the moment, it can also have a positive effect. Just as people can influence others to make negative choices, they can also influence them to make positive ones. You might join a volunteer project because all of your friends are doing it, or get good grades because the social group you’re in thinks getting good grades is important. In fact, friends often encourage each other to study, try out for sports, or follow new artistic interests.

You might not hear a lot about it, but peers have a profoundly positive influence on each other and play important roles in each other’s lives:

  • Friendship: Among peers you can find friendship and acceptance, in share experiences that can build lasting bonds.

  • Positive examples: Peers who are kind and loyal influence you to build these qualities in yourself. Even peers you’ve never met can be role models!

  • Feedback and advice: Your friends listen and give you feedback as you try out new ideas, explore belief, and discuss problems.

  • Socializing: Getting to know lots of different people – such as classmates or teammates – gives you a chance to learn how to expand your circle of friends, build relationships, and work out differences.

  • Encouragement: Peers encourage you to work hard to get the solo in the concert, help you study, listen and support you when you’re upset or troubled, and empathize with you when they’ve experienced similar difficulties.

  • New experiences: Your peers might get you involved in clubs, sports, or religious groups.

To all of my readers thinking that this is complete nonsense and there is no upside to peer pressure, I’m sorry, but try to be less of a ‘Negative Nelly’ and more of a ‘Positive Polly’. With every situation you come across in life, the best thing to do is to try to find the most positive possible outcome and it’ll ultimately help you. I understand there’s no way to look at every situation with positivity right off the bat, but after you vent and get it off your chest, think of how you can turn it around to better help yourself get through it, because in my opinion, nothing negative is worth your time. Everyone deserves to be happy and live a happy life; obviously bad things will happen in life, but there’s no use in wasting too much time on things that will only upset you in the end.

It’s not always easy to resist negative peer pressure, but when you do, it is easy to feel good about it afterward.why do you think that is? And you may even be a positive influence on your peers who feel the same way – often it just takes one person to speak out or take a different action to change a situation. Your friends may follow you if you have the courage to do something different or refuse to go along with the group. Consider yourself a leader, and know that you have the potential to make a difference.

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Positive peer pressures