By Juliana Blatzheim
Whether you want to believe it or not, everyone is bound to give in to peer pressure. As a high school student, it is impossible to escape society’s standards. I walk into seven different classes every day filled with different students with different opinions. Aside from school, I have various other relationships with family and friends. Naturally, I find myself molding and adjusting to the different settings. Although I do not see this as the worst thing, I find that it can be difficult to define myself when I am constantly changing to fit in these different environments. I have come to accept that peer pressure is a part of life, and it will always affect self-perspective.
Peer pressure can have both negative and positive effects. According to the Oxford Dictionary, peer pressure is known as the influence, whether spoken or implied, of surrounding people to act and behave in a certain way. When all of the people around are behaving in the same way, individuals feel pressured to do the same to fit in and get along with the group. In some cases, this can result in risky acts such as shoplifting or smoking, while in others it may merely result in a change in clothing or speech.
Although peer pressure tends to have negative connotations, it can be positive as well. In more positive cases, a group may inspire an individual to try something new they unexpectedly enjoy and enhance better actions. Peer pressure can also be taken down as just small changes in behavior to fit an environment more easily.
Regardless of the change and where it is coming from, it can make introspective difficult. It can begin to feel like there are multiple versions of yourself or your life; ultimately that is the truth. A person cannot be summed up as one distinct individual. A person can be a child, a friend, a lover, a student, a teammate, a coworker, and so on. Humans are bound to change to fill these roles, and that is peer pressure. This constant change can easily be overwhelming and can create confusion, whether the peer influence is negative or not.
The immense amount of influences surrounding us makes it important to evaluate ourselves and separate ourselves from our peers. It is little bits of everything that make us who we are throughout our lives. We can pick and choose what becomes a part of us by avoiding negative peer pressure and focusing on finding positive inspiration.