Ever feel pressured to do one thing when your gut (which is usually in tune with your values) tells you to do another? That?s a pretty common obstacle in the maze of friendships. In fact, you?ll probably encounter it in one form or another all your life. Do this. Don?t do that. Fit in. Stand out. Be different. Not so different. Be strong. Not too strong. Get good grades. Why are you carrying all your books around? You?ve got a flair for style. You?re wearing that?!

So take a stand?right now! Pressure isn?t just what others do to you. It?s also what you might be doing to others. Build up your courage! Make decisions that represent your true self and maybe even inspire others to do the same.

Under Pressure

Peer pressure can be negative or positive. It can also be silent. Here?s an example of silent peer pressure from Melinda, who?s 15:

Once when we had a substitute teacher, a couple of the class clowns pranked her by screeching ?oy? every time her back was turned. It got really annoying after a while, and the teacher got very upset, but no one told her who was doing it. Telling on a classmate is pretty much social suicide.


Are there rules about where to sit at lunchtime or on the bus? About the kinds of clothing that are ?in?? These are also examples of ?silent? peer pressure. Can you think of others?

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