Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Valarie Ward
Peer pressure. It’s something we’re all affected by, whether we are aware of it or not. Just think about all the times you were going to eat a healthy dinner when suddenly you received a call from your friends. They want to go out for pizza. What do you do?
Obviously, you go for pizza.
When your friends offer you drugs, the same pressure can lead to a not-so-smart decision. It’s a dicey situation because telling a friend “no” isn’t easy. How will they react? They might not take it well. Or worse, what will they think of you if you turn them down? Maybe they won’t want to hang out with you anymore.
It’s a difficult situation, especially for a youth whose social life is a tightrope walk from which they could easily fall. But it is so important to learn to say “No,” and to be strong in the face of possible rejection.
How to Say “No”
A quick and easy way to dodge a difficult situation is to change the subject, should a friend come to you with drug offerings. Make light of it; simply say “no thanks,” then suggest another activity, such as playing a sport, riding a bike, etc.
Another strategy is to involve your parents. Tell your friend what kind of trouble you’d be in if you were to dabble in such substances. Hopefully, this will be enough to get you out of an uncomfortable and potentially awkward situation; however, in some cases this may not be enough, and certain friends could push the issue further.
If you are feeling pressure beyond what these two simple suggestions can do to help, check out PBS Kids and see how other children successfully handle such tough situations. It may be comforting to see you’re not alone in this struggle, and you can be strong in your words and convictions.
Why it’s Important to Say “No”
There are a lot of the benefits from leading a drug-free life. WikiHow shares just a few in their “how to” to saying no to drugs and alcohol. There’s so much potential in your future, and dipping into drugs can throw it all away. If you don’t believe it, see for yourself; the Internet is an endless source of celebrities who are either currently in rehab, ruining their lives, or possibly dead due to drug abuse. And a rare few are excellent examples of how saying no and getting clean leads to unparalleled success.
A life of drugs can lead to homelessness, dire medical conditions, prison, or even death. Is this really how you see your future?
What to Do about It
The best way to handle future encounters with drug and alcohol related peer pressure is to prepare, now. Education is key, and so is a strong support group.
Choose to surround yourself with others who do not indulge in drugs. Find close friends you can trust, who are also sober, or at the very least are able to respect your decision to remain drug and alcohol free. And if a friend is pressing you to take drugs, walk away. Find a crowd, a public place, or any other situation in which you may lose that person.
Remember, if someone is truly your friend, they will accept you regardless of your decision to deny any drugs they may offer.