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How to deal with peer pressure effectively

Dear friends, yes, the peer pressure to fit in is high. But don’t worry. You can handle it effectively by adopting the following strategy:

A) Saying a clear confident “No”

B) Feeling proud about your healthy choice

C) Handling concern about losing friendship/ offending a senior

D) Shaping a positive peer pressure around us

Let’s understand these in some detail so that you can implement them easily.

A) Saying a clear confident “No”

1) If you appear hesitant and undecided, friends will try to pressurize you more. So it's important to convey that you are decided and confident about your choice. Make good eye contact and say a bold No. Eg. “No. Thanks, but I don’t take alcohol.”

2) If you decide and keep what you will be saying when someone pressurizes you to take alcohol, you will be able to say it more confidently.

3) People at times make silly arguments to pressurise people to drink. Eg. “You are a loser if you don’t drink”, “One must try everything at least once”, etc. Don’t feel the pressure to answer each silly argument. Just keep repeating your stand briefly. You have a right to your decisions, you don’t need to convince them. They are also aware that it is an unhealthy choice but don’t wish to accept it. You giving detailed explanations is also not going to make them change their mind. For instance, you can handle it as follows:

Friend: Would you like a drink?

You: No. Thanks for offering. I have decided to never touch it.

Friend: Nothing happens with occasional drinking

You: It's an addictive substance. I have seen a lot of families get harmed badly. I love my family. I will never take it.

Friend: So I don’t love my family or what?

You: Surely you must be loving. You have a right to your judgment. I have seen a lot of families get harmed. I will never take it.

Friend: One must try everything at least once.

You: It's an addictive substance. I have decided I will never take it.

Friend: You are not being a sport. You are a loser

You: You can think what you want. I have decided I will never take it.

4) If despite repeated refusal they continue to pressurize, it is best to leave the place. You may say that if they can't respect your right to choose you don’t wish to hang around at the party.

B) Feeling proud about your healthy choice

1) At times your friends may make you feel small for not drinking. If you accept their view and feel ashamed, then very soon you would end up giving in to the peer pressure. You must be clear that just because a lot of your friends take it, that doesn’t make it a smart thing to do. Alcohol is the most common risk factor for death and disability amongst young people, and it is indeed wise to not take it. Feel proud of your smart decision.

2) Be aware that even though it may be common in your friend circle, currently more than half of the world’s population (57%, or 3.1 billion people) chooses to not take this addictive poison.

3) Yes, many successful people also take alcohol. And therefore, alcohol ends up becoming the cause of downfall or death for many successful people as well.

C) Handling concern about losing friendship/ offending a senior

1) You can clarify to your friends that by not taking alcohol, you are not refusing their friendship, you are just refusing to take alcohol. You can reassure that you enjoy their company and can suggest alternative ways to relax and enjoy. For instance

  • A dance party or singing together without getting drunk.

  • Playing some sport together.

  • Going to a movie, to a place of natural beauty, etc.

  • Eating or drinking something else that you all like.

2) If some people don’t want to be friends with you as you don’t drink, be it so. We all need friends. But good friends respect your choice and support your healthy decisions. If someone is intent on making you do something potentially harmful, is it worthwhile to have that person in your life? The Earth is teeming with human beings. If we make smart choices, we will soon attract the right kind of friends who would help us thrive and become truly happy.

3) If the person pressurizing you is your senior at work or some other person whom it is difficult to be assertive with, you can give a reason which they can not argue much with eg. you have give a promise to your mother or son, you have vowed in front of God to not take it again, it is not allowed in your religion, etc.

4) Most good-hearted people who pressurize others to drink appreciate the next day morning those who don’t give in saying that they have very good willpower. A sensible person is never going to keep a grudge that you refused to take an addictive poison.

D) Shaping a positive peer pressure around us

1) Peer pressure to take alcohol and tobacco is strong because people who make them consider it to be a matter of pride and strongly recommend others to take them. But people who don’t make them choose to remain reserved on the issue. People who think that taking addictive substances is a harmful choice need to confidently express their views and recommend friends to stay away from them. That will create positive peer pressure in your peer group and protect your friends.

2) Many don’t want to take these substances but don’t dare to say ‘No’ when peer pressure is high. But if 1 person shows courage, they have happy to support them. It can be compared to a thermometer and thermostat. A thermometer just shows the temperature of surroundings, but a thermostat makes the surroundings take the temperature that it has decided. If you confidently decide to become the thermostat, many would be happy to derive the courage to say ‘No’ from you.

3) Organize healthy recreational activities along with your friends like sports, treks, dancing, book clubs, karaoke nights, etc. When your friend circle develops higher tastes, they would no longer fancy the idea of getting intoxicated to become happy.

4) It is important to choose your friend circle wisely. You must have at least few friends who know how to enjoy life healthily if you want to lead an addiction-free life.

Best wishes for happily living a life of your choice !!


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