Last Updated on November 28, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Peer pressure can be a problem at any age but may be more difficult for adults. The Cambridge Dictionary defines adult peer pressure as “the pressure you feel to behave in certain ways because your friends or members of your group expect it.” This can be a powerful force.
As a child, it’s easy to blame your parents for keeping you from doing things that could be dangerous, make you feel uncomfortable, or are simply wrong.
– Amy wants you to go out with her parents even though they won’t be there.
– Emma wants you to sneak out of the pep rally and to go to the mall.
– Greg believes you should go to the mall after your pep rally.
You can’t be a teenager and get away with it. You can’t study in college, but you have to.
Can Adult Peer Pressure Be Positive?
You can choose to give up. Peer pressure can sometimes be a positive thing. People who are under the influence of peer pressure may adopt certain behaviors such as walking with their friends during lunch breaks, attending after-work yoga classes, spending less or joining a book club to read more. There are things you can do alone, but is it more fun to have friends to join with? Positive peer pressure can encourage someone to quit smoking, swearing, or biting their nails.
What About Negative Adult Peer Pressure?
Negative peer pressure is another story. There are many examples of peer pressure where we were forced to do something that we didn’t want or knew was wrong. Peer pressure can be small things like spending more than you planned on a shopping trip, or behaving unkindly by ostracizing someone at the office or engaging in more dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving home drunk or using drugs. Peer pressure can cause you to change your thinking and speech to fit in with unhealthy people.
Peer pressure can be subtle, but it can still be harmful. You might hear gossip about someone and change your behavior based on that gossip. Perhaps you’ve heard that being promoted to a position at work is contingent on your ability to be ‘one the guys’, binge drinking and using unethical techniques in order to beat the competition.
Spoken Peer Pressure
Peer pressure comes in many forms. Similarity, adult peer pressure can also be verbal or spoken. This is when someone tells, orders, or directs another person to perform a task. He or she may use language to persuade the person to do something. In a one-on-1 situation, they might use verbal pressure. However, they can also employ pressure tactics in a group setting. It is more difficult to say no or decline a request in front of a group. This holds true for both young and old.
Unspoken Peer Pressure
When a group or person engages in an unspoken behavior, you are left to decide if you will follow their lead. You might be at a party when someone offers you drugs. Or maybe your friend who is already tippy calls his wife to lie about where he is so that he can stay later. It can be difficult to make an immediate decision.
How To Avoid The Trap Of Adult Peer Pressure
Perhaps your parents taught you to be strong as a child. Or maybe your parents helped you teach your children to say no to things that aren’t right for them. We may need to remember that just because someone thinks something is good, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for us. Even if they are someone you consider cool. Don’t be afraid of being assertive in your responses. It’s not rude to assert your opinion. Clear communication is polite.
If someone pressures you into doing something that isn’t healthy or right, take a deep breath and look them in the eyes.
If you are familiar with the person pressing you, you may be able to anticipate what they might say or do. You can then plan or even practice how you will react. You can create a brief script. Talk it over with an ally that agrees with you.
Find Your Center
Here are questions you should ask yourself in order to find your center when facing the pressure from your adult friends:
- Is this a good idea? Ask yourself if you will find the job fulfilling if you are considering a change of career. Is it possible that you are only looking to make another person happy?
- What makes you feel good?
- Is this an option that could improve your health, financial situation, or well-being?
- Which direction do you want to take your life?
- Do you feel more susceptible to peer pressure when you are in a certain mood?
If you don’t know where to start, it is worth taking some time to find your inner moral or spiritual compass. Your unique true north. Pay attention to how your body feels about the situation. Your body’s reactions can often give you clues about the best decision for you. This can be tapped by thinking about the question and observing how your body reacts. Does your stomach drop? Are you feeling tense? Take some time to think about your feelings when faced with a difficult decision.
Again, don’t put yourself in a situation where there is no way back.