What Is Peer Pressure?

Carina Frontiero


Peer pressure can be thought of in many ways. Friends can influence you to get back into playing in the band or into doing something you really don’t want to do, like have sex. Peer pressure can also come from many different people in your life. It can come from your best friends, your partner, or that really cool kid in the grade above you.

Google states peer pressure is an “…influence that a peer group…(or) individual(s) exerts that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual.”  Hope, a senior from Newton says, “(Peer pressure) forces kids to do things that they’re uncomfortable with, and often kids regret what they were pressured to do afterwards.”

Where does it start, and why? Mr. Ames, an IHS teacher, says, “Often peer pressure begins simply by a group of friends wanting ALL of their group members to do what the leadership wants.  When choices, opportunities, or moral dilemmas arise, there is often pressure, either by a group or a person, to conform to the choices of those decision makers.  If a person wants to stay involved in the group, or with that person, there is pressure to conform.”

Peer pressure can be very dangerous, but it can also be helpful. Mr. Ames quit band in 8th grade and by the pressure of his friends he got back into band during 9th grade. Whereas, Hope has a friend who has completely changed from peer pressure; Hope’s friend was pressured into having sex with her boyfriend when she wasn’t ready. Her friend ended up regretting her decision; peer pressure changed her. She drifted away from her friends and more towards her boyfriend. When the friend and her boyfriend eventually broke up, Hope’s friend didn’t change back to normal. She was dressing differently, and completely left Hope’s group for new friends. While in this other group the friend would start bad mouthing her old friends to her new ones which destroyed any remaining friendship.

Peer pressure can be completely different for everyone; sometimes it can be really good for you and it can also be very destructive.