It’s normal to want to follow what others are doing, especially as a teenager, when other people’s opinions seem increasingly important. Being influenced by friends isn’t always a bad thing - they may give you advice if you’re in a tough situation, or encourage you to develop your skills.
However, peer pressure can have negative results when you feel pushed into doing something or acting in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. It can lead you to risking your health through experimenting with things like smoking, drinking alcohol, and drugs, and you may do or say things which you regret later.
Overcoming peer pressure is tough and takes a lot of courage. You might worry that you will be made fun of or left out if you say ‘no’. You need to develop the self-confidence to be comfortable with your own choices and beliefs, regardless of what your friends might say.
It can be helpful to find people who share your opinions, or try to make new friends who do not pressure you. It’s also a good idea to think about how you feel about certain issues, so that if you are challenged you can explain your opinion confidently. You might get teased in the beginning, but most people will respect your boundaries once they know what they are. You may even find that you’re a positive influence on your friends - often, all that’s needed to change a situation is for one person to stand up and speak out.
Your Youth Worker and School Counsellor and Nurse are some of the professionals who can give you advice and support. For more information you can also visit the weblinks listed on the right hand side of this page.