Sunday, November 28, 2010

How To Say No To Peer Pressure Without Feeling Guilty

Hope is a 15-year-old high school student from Stratford, NJ. She loves reading, writing, socializing with friends and her favorite subject is English because she wants to be a writer/editor.

Do you sometimes find yourself being taken advantage of? Do you think of yourself as a pushover? There is only one way to stop people from taking advantage of you. Learn how and when to say no. This sounds like it’s easier said than done, right? Well, it is. I will admit, I used to be a huge pushover and that slowly led me in the wrong direction. I would always say yes to everyone because I wanted to be nice but I was always the person who got in trouble. What helped me off of this path was realizing that my poor choices were making my grades suffer and jeopardizing the trust I had with my parents and teachers. I helped a friend cheat on a test but the teacher saw us, took my test and gave me an F, and gave my “friend” a bad grade, too. That was a huge wake up call because my grade dropped so much. My teacher was so surprised because she knew that I wasn’t the type of person that would cheat. She was right. Below are reasons to say no and how to say it.

1. Never help anyone cheat. Cheating is a big deal no matter what. Why would you risk getting in big trouble for someone else? Here’s a good example. You’re in class, taking a test. Your friends’ desks are near yours and none of them studied because they knew that you would give them the answers like you always do. And, one by one, they ask you for answers to the test. Why should you do? Politely say no. If they say that you’re not being a friend by not giving them the answers, they are obviously using you and are not your friends. Then you won’t feel as bad about saying no. Would you want to get in trouble for people who don’t even like you? But if they are your friends, tell them that you are uncomfortable with helping them cheat and they should understand. Real friends wouldn’t want you to feel uncomfortable or get in trouble.

2. Don’t jeopardize the trust you have between your parents and you. Why would your parents let you go to that party or go to see that awesome new movie with your BFFs if they can’t trust you? So think twice before stealing that small item from the store for your friend or accepting alcoholic drinks or drugs because your friends tell you it’s cool. Just tell them that you are not comfortable with
it. If they are really your friends, they will understand. Better yet, don’t befriend people who believe that having a good time involves doing bad or illegal things. There is absolutely no need to lose your parents’ trust over things that shouldn’t be a part of your life in the first place.

3. Be true to yourself. Remember that, when it comes to stealing, drinking, cheating, doing drugs, etc., what you believe is right is the most important thing. Peer pressure can make people do terrible things, but you just have to fight it. Put your morals and beliefs before everything else and you’ll find the courage to say no. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

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