“Just take a drag.”
“Just take one drink.”
“Just for old time’s sake.”
Most men have heard these words when their friends or colleagues have asked them to try something new. It is more common when it comes to vices like smoking or drinking alcohol.
A high percentage of people pick up smoking due to peer pressure. Research published in European Respiratory Journal has suggested that peer pressure plays a crucial role in adolescents and adults taking up habits like smoking.
Similarly, peer pressure plays a role in the overconsumption of alcohol among adults, as stated in research in Bio Med Central Public Health.
Peer pressure is something a young man has to deal with at some stage. Most men part of a clique must manage this pressure to be part of the group.
It is a commonly known phenomenon where men have to follow similar habits, hobbies or affiliations to be considered as a part of a group. In any group, some men are more dominant than others. With its among friends, or family members, men often face a certain pressure from others to adopt similar habits.
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In modern times, men often fall for peer pressure, with FOMO (fear of missing out) becoming too real. Usually, this peer pressure comes in the form of appealing ideas like, “Everyone has a single life; live it fully”. “You only live once, live it”, and “Live life king size”, etc., to influence the people to try new vices.
This behaviour can quickly snowball into men becoming regular smokers and turning from social drinking to alcoholics. This pressure from friends and colleagues comes in subtle form, slowly wearing away the will of naysayers.
So, the question arises of how one can manage this peer pressure. And the more pertinent one is how to do so without upsetting the natural order in the social circle.
Well, here are a few tips for managing peer pressure among men.
1. Learn to say No and Be Consistent
Since peer pressure can come up anywhere, in any group, one of the best ways to avoid peer pressure is to say NO, from the start. Most often, peer pressure starts with a small suggestion or a request. Make sure to respond with a polite yet firm NO.
If you can fend off the initial pressure and don’t show any sign of wavering, you won’t get the proverbial appeals again and again.
2. Be firm with your decision
Most people observe your reaction when someone is requesting and appealing to you. They look at the agreeableness of a person towards such behaviour.
A man who can be made to change his decisions through repeated requests or appeals is often seen as a man with a weak will. The chances of peer pressure coming on him will always be high.
So, it’s better to show firmness in every decision you take.
Perception is the key. If a group sees rational thinking and a solid decision-making process in a man, it is less likely to repeat it. Even though such traits are often taken as competition and sometimes perceived as a threat, this will help a man to find the right group in the longer term. Think of it as a great tool to chaff off your friend circle.
3. Support healthy habits in others
Another way to fend off peer pressure is to support others doing the same, especially in living life on their terms. If a man is resisting unnecessary pressure from friends or family to modify his behaviour, lend support to him.
This will, in turn, help you know how to gather support when needed. Offering support to someone who is trying to live a life that is mentally and physically healthy can help you to develop a strong will. Aiding someone is right and is perceived as a good trait among men. It also helps to create a healthy and growth-oriented group, which is a win-win for all the participants.
4. Exercise Self-control
Groups are good at organizing in a hierarchy. It tends to elect a leader(s) within itself. If you exercise self-control, it is taken as a sign of power and control over one’s agency.
This prevents others from building up peer pressure on you. Also, it is seen as a sign of strength, too, that can assist you in dealing with convincing arguments.
Exercising self-control comes in handy when peer pressure suddenly builds up and you feel a need to go with the flow of the group. It will help you politely refuse attempts to convince you to indulge in what your friends offer.
5. Learn to be independent
This suggestion extends more than how to overcome peer pressure. If a man learns to be independent, the need to be in a group reduces. Being in a group becomes optional, so the need to go along with the group also becomes optional.
If you can enjoy your own company, you don’t need to behave in a certain way with the group to have a good time. You will always have a choice to opt-out of the group, making it easier to deal with peer pressure.
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In modern times, being part of society comes with all types of rules and conventions. With society becoming more intertwined than ever, the pressure due to society is also increasing on every individual. New online trends, phenomena like Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), conflicting living styles, etc., can confuse individuals and affect their will.
This makes them quite prone to peer pressure. To conform to a group identity, young men are becoming more susceptible to damaging habits due to peer pressure. Different tactics are available to deal with this social pressure. Along with them, a man must learn to manage society’s expectations to avoid the common pitfalls of living in a group.
Harsh is the founder of menPsyche. He enjoys using his extensive research and writing skills to communicate ideas and concepts, with the aim to improve people’s lives.
Harsh trained as a Communication Engineer and published a MSc (Research) thesis, as well as worked in a variety of marketing and consultancy roles.