Man is a social animal and we learn most of the things from our surrounding. Society, friends, colleges have a great influence on our behaviour. At times this influence becomes so deep that this starts exerting pressure on us. This pressure commonly known as peer pressure or social pressure can be a positive one or a negative one. As long as an individual can sustain it, it adds to growth of the individual but the time when it gets out of control it starts creating problems.
Social pressure is when an individual wants to get well accepted to the group and hence group norms. There is no fixed age at which an individual gets into the trap of this pressure i.e from children to oldies anyone can fall victim to this pressure. Adults by virtue of age and experience are in better position to handle this pressure but our younger generation specially the adolescent or a teen are not mentally grown to handle this pressure and hence the chances go getting indulge in harmful actives are high. In these situation individuals often lose the sense of right or wrong and hence peers becomes a great source of influence. The impact of this influence can be visible with respect to their style, taste, appearance, ideology, and values.
Social pressure is not always negative, I have seen this working as a magic for few. If we get aspired by a group that has got better values, performance, ideology or acceptance in the society then this group influence people to have better ideology and behaviour. This leads to improvement in performance that can be in academics, higher affiliation with parents, participation in co- curricular activities like sports, dramatics, singing, etc.
Negative social pressure is something that is of great concern. This is an outcome of either getting into a wrong group or having an affiliation for something that negatively perceived. Outcome of negative social pressure can be disastrous. Person can alienate from the family i.e start avoiding parents, disinterested in studies, wrong habits like indulgence in smoking, alcohol, drugs and other violent activities. If such negative social pressure is not taken care of on time then the life of the person can be ruined. This becomes a cause of major psychological and behavioural disorders.
There are four possible responses to peer pressure:
- Compliance – When we do not agree with group opinion or actions but, gets along with it.
- Conversion – When we convert our thoughts and ideologies to confirm with the group.
- Congruence – when we agreeing with the opinion/action of the group from the onset.
- Non-Conformity – Either remaining independent (e.g., not succumbing to group pressure and maintaining personal opinion), or anti-conformity (purposefully expressing opinions or actions contrary to the status quo).
So, it depends on individual to individual as to how one will react to this pressure. One should consider society and its norms but certainly not at the cost of one’s happiness or life...
Ms. Anu Bhardwaj
Department of Management Studies