Freedom From Peer Pressure

4 09 2011

I have always had a certain immunity to peer pressure.  Maybe it’s because I am so obstinate and hard headed.  I’d like to believe it’s because I hate being forced into doing things.  I enjoy my freedom to make my own choices and look askance at anything that would take that freedom away.

That’s why the argument that everyone else is doing it doesn’t fly with me.  I don’t care if everyone else is doing something idiotic; I’ll have no part in it.

It works the other way too.  I’m not going to not do something just because everyone else is doing it.  Let me try to explain.  Say a really catchy song comes out and everyone is listening to it.  There might be some who decide that they are going to shun the song just on the basis of it being popular and wanting to exert their uniqueness.  This is peer pressure just as surely as only liking the song because everyone else likes it.  The difference is instead of your peers pulling you, they are pushing you.  Both are forms of pressure.

In order for you to live by the philosophy of peer freedom, you have to be completely honest with yourself and be able to examine your motives without bias.  It takes some practice to be able to consistently preempt what other want you to do with your own desires, but it can be done.  You just have to learn to disregard what others think of you.

There are pitfalls associated with peer freedom.  Those that doubt your resolve think you are caving to peer pressure when in reality you are not.  This can be very annoying at first, but you must not give in to the temptation to strike out at them.  Just remember, you don’t care what they think.  They can think you are a sell-out all day, but it will only be true if you care that they think that.

You may be thinking that this philosophy of being free of the influence of others will make it so you can do whatever you want because you don’t care what other people think.  Not so fast.  There are still consequences to the actions you take.  Peer freedom actually increases your ownership of your actions.  The excuse that the devil made you do it (or the devil’s associates, your friends) becomes even more ridiculous than it already is.  You did it of your own accord and all the ownership for your actions rests with you.  Misuse this philosophy and you will end up sad and alone.

People are emotional beings and therefore are very complex.  If you would not cut yourself off from the rest of humanity, you need to season your peer freedom with tact.  And remember, you are being tactful because you chose to be tactful, not because the people you interact with are pressuring you to be tactful.  A little tact goes a long way.

So if you want to be cool, do what I’m telling you and forget peer pressure.




One response

6 09 2011
David Montgomery

I feel pressure to have peer freedom.

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