When you’re a teenager, peer pressure sucks. That constant squeeze from your peers to act the same, think the same, be the same as them. It forces you to fit in, to conform, to not be your own weird ‘n wonderful self.
As an impressionable, confidence-lacking 14 year old, peer pressure can define you. It can make you take up smoking (yep), start drinking (er… yep), sneak out of class and lie to your parents (yep, er… yep!) I think we can all look back on those times and realise that peer pressure was actually just a form of bullying, dressed up with a more socially acceptable name. And bullying sucks. Period.
Then suddenly, you’re an adult. If you’re anything like me, you quickly realised how stupid it was to want to be the same as everyone else, and how marching to the beat of your own weird-ass drum is a much more attractive option. After all, it’s what make you, you. You’re more confident in your own skin, and much happier doing things that make you jump for joy, rather than trying to please other people.
But for a lot of us, the peer pressure remains. However in adulthood, with our new-found self-awareness, it can actually be a really positive thing. Peer pressure is more likely to encourage you to push outside of your comfort zone and improve yourself, rather than make you want to take up a questionable or addictive habit.
Tote bag from Another Fing Tote
Without peer pressure I never would have stepped foot on a plane on my own. I’m not scared of flying, but the thought of having me, and only me, responsible for getting myself from one country to another, would have stopped me from ever booking tickets.
Without peer pressure I would have never started The Blogcademy. If Gala and Shauna weren’t there, encouraging me to do it with them, I never would have begun. I’d have been too terrified. Without them it would have seemed too big and too scary.
Without peer pressure I never would have agreed to start producing our Home School videos. I’m not completely confident on camera, and the thought of my weird facial expressions and awkward, slightly chaotic speaking style being immortalised forever on a video on the internet is quite frankly mortifying.
But peer pressure doesn’t just have to be about BIG life accomplishments. It can be as small as saying yes to that invitation, to actually going to that networking event, or writing that blog post that scares you. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? People might not talk to you… it might be awkward… you might say something embarrassing…? But what’s the best thing that could happen? You might make a life-long friend… meet someone and work together on an awesome, career defining project… make a difference to someone’s life with your words?
So shake yourself off and do something that scares you. Most of the time, I guarantee, you’ll feel a million times better afterwards. Hell, you may even have fun. And if you don’t, well I’m a big fan of chalking up bumps in the road as amazing life lessons. At least you will have tried.
Go on, take a chance, succumb to the peer pressure. It might just be the best decision you’ve made all year.
- Photography: Chris Barber Photography