My 3 Rules For Saying NO To Peer Pressure (Without Pissing People Off)

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Have you ever felt pressured to participate in something that you didn’t really want to do but everyone around you was kind of pushing you into it?

Growing up there are going to be a lot of challenges and a lot of peer pressure that comes your way. Some of it you’re going to be okay with participating in but then some of it you’re not.

So where do you draw those lines for yourself without feeling like you’re missing out on what everyone’s doing or feeling like the lame person who isn’t really cool enough to hang with everyone?

Just a little fun fact about me, I’ve never drank or smoked before in my life. It’s never been something that’s appealed to me but growing up and being a teenager I saw that a lot.

A lot of my friends were getting involved in that scene, were drinking more and I had to make that decision for myself if it was something I wanted to participate in. I’d go to plenty of house parties with my friends where people are playing beer pong or sitting on the couch drinking or out in the back smoking. So the pressure to drink and smoke was always around me even though it wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Rule #1: Only participate in the things that you want to do, not in the things that people want you to do

Drinking alcohol just wasn’t for me and yet people still felt the urge to kind of try to convince me to participate in what they were doing.

You won’t believe all the questions I had to deal with:

Come on man, just drink one beer. What are you, scared?

How do you know you’re not missing out on the most amazing thing ever if you don’t at least try it once?

But what if we never see each other again? Wouldn’t it be weird to know that we didn’t share a beer together at least once in our lives?

And my answer to all of those statements was usually the same. I understand but it’s just not something I’m interested in.

If a person keeps trying to pressure you to do the thing that they’re doing and they keep bringing it up over and over it’s because they feel uncomfortable with the idea that you’re doing something different. Because you’re not following the norm here, they feel uncomfortable for you. They can’t really comprehend how you can enjoy yourself without doing what everyone else is doing. And that’s a fair question to ask.

How exactly did I have fun as the sober person surrounded by all these drunk people?

Rule #2: Focus on being with friends and feeling happy through their happiness and your own

I began to realize that what mattered most to me was being in the presence of my friends. Laughing with them, joking around, telling stories. If by the end of the night they were a little loopy and drunk, we could still participate in having a good time together.

I just enjoyed being around people that I cared about and I put that as my highest ranking priority over participating in the actions.

Sure, there were tons of nights where people got blasted and crazy things happened, I had to help them get home but at the end of the day, it all made for a fun good story, good experience, and we always reflected on it afterward.

If a person got too drunk, I kind of talked to them about them and let them know how their behaviors affected those around them, so they could then work on curbing it and trying to not get into that state again. Once I really shifted my perspective to the people rather than the activities, I started to look at all kinds of situations differently. If I was hanging out with my friends, we didn’t always have to do something super crazy and fun, just being in their presence, just being able to talk to them was enough for me.

And that’s not to say that for everything that they wanted to do I was just ride or die, sitting along with them. There were plenty of times I just had to say “No thanks guys. I’m gonna pass on that one”.

Rule #3: Be okay with not being involved in everything

Look, your friends are not always going to make the best of decisions. They’re growing and learning and exploring and experimenting just like you are but sometimes those two things don’t align and you might feel the pressure to want to be a part of what they’re doing simply because you don’t want to be left out.

Well, being left out of things is okay sometimes. It’s okay to kind of go with your gut and realize that’s not the best thing to do, that’s not the safest thing for me to do, and it’s just not something I want to do overall.

Sure, your friends might hound you for a bit and you might get that FOMO, that real fear of missing out and not being involved in everything but, as time passes you’re going to look back at those moments and be proud of yourself for standing up. The more you can practice saying no when it’s things you don’t want to do, the more resilient you’re going to be. The stronger you’re going to be in being confident in who you are and doing the things you want and not doing things you don’t want.

Your teenage years and your college years are going to be the ultimate testament to that, so try to follow these three rules if you feel like you’re someone who constantly gives in to peer pressure. It’s going to help you learn how to set up boundaries, learn how to be more resilient in saying no to build your confidence in standing up for yourself, and it’s going to strengthen the relationship you have with your friends because you’re going to focus on people rather than things.

If you’re curious to find out why I don’t drink, you can check out my video here.

On that note, I’ll catch you next time.

As always love and peace.

Josh is an inspirational speaker, YouTuber, and author of the self-help book “Embracing The Awkward” for teens and young adults. https://www.thejoshspeaks.com

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