Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Positive Aspects of Peer Pressure

by Grace Acklam


It has to be said that throughout the past decade and the many decades preceding that, that peer pressure has been mainly been affiliated with the teenage culture of self-exploration. There have been many news stories which have firmly slated teenage society as being ever more forceful and encouraging of bad habits and foolish decisions in the heat of the moment, including issues relating to alcohol and drugs. On top of this, the permanently growing social media platforms, through which we all choose to communicate and present the ins and outs of our lives to others like us, are heavily criticised for influencing the way in which we perceive ourselves.

Peer pressure has become something of a negative weight in every teen’s life, and it cannot be contested that this is the honest truth and that every teenager in this millennial generation will be feeling pressured in some way that our parents will not have faced in their adolescence. Take for example, being continually aware of our need to work harder and try harder and achieve better grades than the friend (that isn’t really our friend) who has boasted about their impeccable grades online. It cannot be denied that the burden of peer pressure is increasing twenty-four seven, and do not mistake me when I say fully understand that peer pressure is a bad thing with potentially catastrophic effects which we all endure whether being willing or not.

However, there are undoubtedly positive aspects to peer pressure that are very commonly overlooked and discarded, but which if we focus on instead of the negatives, may give us a different outlook on teenage society.

The first is that peer pressure can push us out of our comfort zones. Whilst is must be acknowledged that we can be pushed out of our comfort zones in both negative and positive ways, consider in this light that we are surrounded by people who make us feel comfortable and who we trust, and that they can see the potential we are unable to recognise ourselves; then by them pushing us beyond the boundaries we set due to lack of confidence, it can be almost always guaranteed that the outcome will be positive. Peer pressure can lead to new discoveries about yourself that you had told yourself did not exist simply because you were too afraid to leave the box you placed yourself in.


The second is that you may find the outcome to be rewarding. Despite the obvious argument that clearly states large bouts of peer pressure have consequences which are not rewarding, in mild cases of peer pressure amid a healthy environment, it can have benefits. For instance, you can sing incredibly and are Grade 8, but are too afraid that even though you know you can sing, everyone will be judgemental and accuse you of being bad, but you find your way being selected for a performance which you have no choice but to partake in, and then discover that everyone you feared would criticise you, was instead mesmerised. The satisfaction of knowing that you won’t be disapproved of for simply being yourself, and the boost to your confidence that enables you to perform more frequently, is a liberating feeling.

In summary, whilst the bulk of peer pressure lands teens in positions they shouldn’t be in and more often than not leads to us having to find our way out of uncomfortable situations, it cannot go without saying that hidden amongst the bad, there is good. There is the ability to use peer pressure to raise our confidence and self-belief, it’s just utilising it in the correct way and minimalizing the wrong that is what needs work, but they as say, “practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes progress.” If we, little by little, find a way to reduce the pessimistic nature of peer pressure, and use it to help others around us instead, then the teenage community may just become a better and less slated community to be a member of.

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