There were probably many times in school when your friends talked you into doing something you wouldn’t have otherwise done. While peer pressure can easily influence the judgment of children, some may wrongly believe that this aspect of life ends once we graduate high school. The fact is, peer pressure continues throughout the rest of our lives; it merely changes to coincide with adult circumstances.
The main reason we may follow suit is to become part of the greater whole. We all want to belong to a group of some kind, to interact with those around us so that we become accepted. So what happens when we try to assert ourselves as individuals with our own likes and dislikes? We fear the risk of isolating ourselves.
If we don’t conform to the wants of others, we run the risk of isolating ourselves from them. We will often conform to certain beliefs or behaviour in order to not alienate ourselves. This comes from empathy and compassion, as many people like to avoid hurting the feelings of others.
Considerations around voting can have certain influences on us, as pressures still continue through advertisements, conversations and other forms of influence around the time of elections. It helps of course, if we have our own belief system in place. That way we’re less likely to be influenced by the media. This may also manifest itself when it comes to following sports teams or to musical tastes. We are often influenced by our parents from a young age to follow a specific team.
As we grow older, we begin to appreciate the team and players more fully and to develop our own sporting interests. The same can be said of our musical tastes when, as teenagers we may take an interest in, and/or follow the fashionable groups or pop stars. It’s only when we are older and more mature that we develop our own tastes and to express those.
The influence of others to watch a specific television show can also be a form of peer pressure. Entertainment that people don’t normally watch can become a regular habit as others influence the decision to stay connected through this medium, particularly reality television that has hit our screens in the last few years. We find ourselves wanting to join in the conversation about the TV shows of the previous night with our friends and work colleagues, rather than be left out.
All of this is the result of wanting to fit in and be a part of society or group. Most people will conform to one idea or another throughout their lives in order to not ‘rock the boat.’ It doesn’t mean that humans are bad; it’s just an inevitable part of how humanity exists in the world today. What sets us apart from the rest however; is how we deal with peer pressure and its consequences.
Bio: Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org