It can be hard to go against the grain and resist social pressure. Here are some tips to make it easier.
Be prepared—think through situations ahead of time. Plan how you’d say no if someone offered you a cigarette, a drink, or a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. You can even practice saying them in the mirror. That way, if you ever are put in that situation, you’ll barely have to think. You’ll come off cool and collected, and the folks who are pressuring you will be less likely to push back after you say no.
Avoid it—try to avoid bad peer pressure by spending time with friends who don’t make you uncomfortable or try to get you to do things you don’t want to.
You can also avoid places where you feel uncomfortable. For example, if a teammate wants to meet in the parking lot to smoke before basketball practice, tell them, you have something else to do, but you’ll see, when practice starts. If friends are hanging out at someone’s house—without any parents around—before a dance, and you’re worried that they might be up to something, suggest grabbing something to eat at a restaurant. Or, tell them you’ll meet them at the dance.
Be proud—if someone’s trying to get you to do something you know you shouldn’t, or something that makes you feel nervous, say no. And be proud that you’re being strong and doing what’s right for you.
Stand up straight.
Make eye contact.
Feel good about standing up for yourself.
Be a good friend—don’t ever put your friends in a situation where they feel bad about not wanting to do something that you might want to do. If someone’s trying to pressure your friend, help him or her stand up. You can say, “No thanks. We don’t do that,” or, “Sorry, we’re on our way to go to the mall.”
Play this game to see if you can make the tough choices.