I always thought I’d be immune to peer pressure. That I would never succumb. That I would never find myself in one of those situations. I was wrong of course, I’d only managed to survive high school without an encounter. University,  as often warned, brought along many new experiences.

What I’d learned previously about the subject was all a lie. I feel that my parents and teachers that tried to strengthen me against the big bad burden of peer pressure had no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t even recognise it when it was happening. 

See on valentines day my peers planned to do something stupid. I was adamant that I would not partake. I knew my parents wouldn’t be happy and I made a promise to myself and God that I would not.  On the day, I joined them, intending to watch, and laugh at them while abstaining. I love my friends, even when I hate their decisions.The entire day building up to the act, I was facing an inner battle of whether I would or would not. Not so adamant then.

No Yas, you must resist.

But I want to.

But you don’t.

You’re right I don’t.

Its not worth it.

I know, I’m not going to. 

but you still want to.

I want to.

I want to too.

And my resolve dissolves. I say yes. Bite the apple. Notice how my friends played no enormous role in my succumbing? There might be such a thing as the peer pressure adults talk about, but my experience was far, far less obvious. Nobody said they’d hate me, nobody said I’d be kicked out of our merry little band, nobody forced me. They just made my decision easier. They just made me feel okay about it in the moment. They made it look fun.Some part of me just wanted to have as much fun as they were. Some part of me didn’t want to be out of the loop. Was this not some form of peer pressure?

I’m trying to illustrate that peer pressure is not always a battle against your friends, sometimes its a battle against yourself. All along I wanted to commit the act, but while trying to convince myself it was wrong, I used them to convince myself it was right.

So, to those who think they’re in danger of peer pressure: it’s not the people around you you should be worrying about, it’s yourself. When you choose your friends, you give them the power to influence your life. The extent of that power is all up to you too.

Be careful.