Are You a Victim of Peer Pressure?

“Peer pressure and social norms are powerful influences on behavior, and they are classic excuses.” ~Andrew Lansley

“Peer pressure is just that: pressure.” ~Jerry Spinelli

“People just don’t realize how much peer pressure, the desire for peer acclamation, influences them.” ~Frederica Mathews-Green

“Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t let anyone dilute you. Don’t be peer pressured into being less than you are.” ~Dr. Steve Maraboli

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ~Dr. Seuss

Peer pressure isn’t just for kids. Sure it starts in our childhood but has it truly ended by our adulthood?

I was reminded of peer pressure this week when faced with the reality of my sixteen-year-old daughter making new friends and going out with them to do who knows what. I look back to when I was sixteen and remember how much I did to try and fit in and be part of the “in crowd”.

This trip down memory lane did not leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy. However, I know that I have raised my daughter in a dramatically different way than how I was raised, so my concerns lessened as I reminded myself of this fact.


Peer pressure can and does ruin many lives. Not all of us have been raised with a strong enough sense of self-worth, a good moral compass, high self-esteem and core values that can withstand the force of needing to fit in. Peer pressure, when combined with any of these, is a recipe for bad choices and a life potentially spent trying to undo the negative effects of these choices.

In my own life, alcohol played a major role and in the choices I made as a result. Its effects permeated every area of my life including my health. As a result, I have had to choose differently for myself over the last five years. With alcohol being a major part of society—and such an expected social norm—this change has been challenging.

To fit in or not to fit in, to drink or not to drink? To feel good, be healthy, stay fit and in shape, look healthy or to drink? To have drinking friends or to sacrifice our health? These are the questions that peer pressure can cause you to ask.

This pressure doesn’t apply just to alcohol. It can apply to any form of negative behavior or to choices that take you away from achieving your desired goals in life. Food choices would be another common example, and one that people struggle with on a regular basis. As a vegan I stand out; my health, however, is worth it.

If pressure from peers is causing you to make unhealthy choices that sabotage your goals and what you really want in life, then maybe you are with the wrong crowd and need to find peers that support your choices and allow you to be you without judgment, ridicule or pressure.

Where is peer pressure diminishing your life? Take responsibility and no longer give in to any peer pressure that is negatively impacting your goals and desires.

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