Friends be my well wisher, don't put pressure !
We are social animals who seldom like to be alone. Whatever we think, say or do, we usually seek the approval of people around us, especially those who share common grounds with us. Peer pressure is a very commonly used term used in the contemporary era, & it is more or less familiar to one and all. It is the influence exerted by one’s peer group, that often lead individuals to change their beliefs, attitudes, values etc. in order to conform to the norms of a group.
This characteristic is predominantly found in the youth, as they are part of an educational institution that requires them to spend majority time among other individuals of around the same age and the need for social belonging and affiliation is very high. It is a part and parcel of growing up, facilitating each teenager to make a place for himself/herself in a group, while simultaneously allowing him/her to learn many things from each other. On the contrary, it might not bode well in all situations, leading to severe ill-effects that are difficult to counter.
Unfortunately the society today is often pestered by the demerits of peer pressure, that is encouraging youngsters to do negative things, that take a toll on their lives. It is being observed that crucial decisions of one’s life such as choosing a subject amongst many electives, selecting universities in which one wishes to apply, opting for a particular discipline/career choice and even pettier things such as completing one’s home-work and criticizing a teacher are also being governed by peer pressure. The maxim that applies here being, if everyone else around is doing it, I must do it too. Perhaps it is accounted by our subconscious urge to NOT be a social misfit/recluse/loner. But the thin line that differentiates conforming from succumbing is a difficult territory to tread, for most adolescents are balanced vulnerably between two ends.
When it is about even more perilous things such as taking to tobacco, alcohol, drugs etc. peer pressure has a vital role to play. Most young people become susceptible to these addictions following the herd and as a result, ruin their lives in countless ways. Not everyone is sensible enough to know where to draw the line and the young people are most at risk. Often, students fall prey to peer-pressure and give in to bad habits which in turn lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, thereby perturbing every aspect of their life. Their genuine identity is often lost in a desperate attempt to follow the herd. Blind imitation of tastes, choices, habits, way of life etc. makes one lose their individuality and genuineness.
Since it is the most delicate period of their lives, youngsters should work towards developing their own viewpoint and mind-set without being overly dependent on their peer. Parental guidance, choosing the right friends, having one’s personal sense of right and wrong are also important factors to keep peer pressure at check. While it can be very rewarding to develop positive things from one’s peer group, the opposite can lead to disasters.