|Alcohol: Peer Pressure
If a friend or classmate has ever pushed you into doing something you don't want to do, then you've experienced peer pressure. This is how many young people experiment with underage drinking. If a popular kid offers you a drink, you might think that you'll become popular if you do what he or she says. When a close friend starts drinking, you may worry that you'll lose the friendship if you don't join in.
You may also feel "silent peer pressure" to try drinking. That's when nobody is actually offering you alcohol or encouraging you to try it, but you see other people drinking and feel tempted. This kind of pressure is just as real, but harder to recognize.
There are many ways to handle peer pressure. First, remember these things:
But let's face it: saying "no" isn't always easy. Most of us worry about fitting in and what others will think of us. If you're worried that you'll lose your friend over a peer pressure situation, you may want to take a closer look at the friendship. A true friend will respect your decisions, and someone who ditches you for not taking orders from them was never a friend to begin with. Also, you may discover that some of your other friends secretly feel the same way you do!
If a friend or classmate tries to pressure you, keep in mind why he or she might be doing it:
If a simple "No, thanks" won't do the trick, here are some other tactics for turning down someone who is pressuring you to try drinking:
Whatever you choose, do what feels right for you. Remember: most young people don't drink, so you're in good company! If someone won't stop pressuring you, it's okay to call for backup. Talk to an adult you trust, like your teacher, guidance counselor, your parents, or an older brother or sister.