Social pressure: causes and tips to deal with it

Social pressure is defined as the influence that comes from other people and that produces a change in the belief or value system of those who are influenced. That is, it is changing your mind about something just because a person or a group of people exert pressure through their behaviors to make it happen.

This phenomenon is quite common and sometimes goes unnoticed. And it is that, sometimes, the influence they have on each other is not evident because it occurs under a cloak of naturalness. For example, when a famous artist uses certain brands of clothing in public, or when some athletes make publications trying certain foods.

Consciously or unconsciously, his followers tend to imitate such behaviors. Why is this happening? How to face social pressure? In this regard, there are many questions. Therefore, below we detail its main causes and some strategies to avoid it.

Social pressure during adolescence

During adolescence, it is natural to want to be at the forefront to fit into a social group. For this reason, it is frequent that friends and colleagues exert intense pressure in this regard. Thus, young people feel the need to be part of something, be it a team, a band, a club, etc. In turn, they hope that their presence is well received within the group.

At this stage, the first opinions and points of view on certain topics, and thought evolves towards new processes. However, while thought processes change, the need for belonging increases, and leads to conflict situations.

A large percentage of adolescents leave put aside their personal convictions in exchange for belonging to a certain social group. This situation is resolved over time, as the person ends up respecting their ideology and gives up the idea of ​​acceptance.

Still, there are those who fully embrace the ideals of the group and end up feeling comfortable with it. It should be noted that social influence is not always negative. In fact, within the family nucleus, Parents and elders should have a positive influence on their children and other family members.

Influence is said to be negative when the behaviors that are encouraged are harmful. For example, friendships that incite drug use, criminal activities or any situation that puts the physical integrity of oneself or others at risk.

Social pressure is common in adolescence. For this reason, many young people end up exposing themselves to situations of risk.

Causes of social pressure

While it is natural to give in to social pressure at times, it is important to establish the causes why this occurs. As we have already mentioned, during adolescence it tends to occur due to the need to belong to a social group. Meanwhile, in adulthood it can be caused by fear of rejection.

Human beings are a species with a life cycle that is largely defined by social patterns. Feeling that a certain age is reached without meeting certain social demands generates anguish in some people.

For a percentage of the population, not having married before a certain age represents a failure. The same goes for the expectation of having children at a certain stage. Many come to feel rejected when they see that others are complying with what is established, while they stay on the sidelines.

As it says Milan kundera in his novel «The Unbearable Lightness of Being », the world is advancing in a great march forward. The idea of ​​being left behind is scary, and many advance without knowing where they are going.

It can be established, then, that the main cause of social pressure is fear. Fear of rejection or fear of being left behind on the path to the socially established. Other causes could be the following:

  • Personal insecurity.
  • Low selfsteem
  • Conflicts with personality.

Faced with this type of situation, the ideal thing is to go with a trained professional, such as a psychologist, to establish an accurate plan of action. Some Negative emotions resulting from social pressure can be intense and recurring. Proper psychological care can reduce the anxiety that this causes. In addition, it will avoid conflicts in the future.

Characteristics of social pressure

People who tend to give in to social pressure have a number of characteristics that are easy to recognize. It is enough to learn to observe in detail some behaviors. Initially, they are individuals who express their opinion in terms of others. That is, it is difficult for them to have opinions that contradict popular opinion.

On the other hand, the following characteristics may be present:

  • Fear of expressing true opinions (introverted personality).
  • Submission to the demands of others (inability to set limits).
  • Need to have things equal to those of others (consumerism).

These characteristics may vary from one person to another, according to the characteristics of the personality of each one. For example, it is possible to see an extrovert who acts under the influence of the social demands of a group.

So, despite the variations that may exist in the forms of behavioral expression of people, always the same principle of displacing personal ideals for those of the collective is maintained.

Social pressure affects the development of the personality of individuals, especially during adolescence.

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How does social pressure influence decision-making?

There are those who believe that decisions are an individual process, which responds only to each subject in isolation. Nothing further from reality. What actually happens is that often heDecisions are based on collective concepts. ANDIn other words, each one acts based on what he perceives from the environment.

Humans are a gregarious species. It needs the group for its proper development. Therefore, the processes in decision making They are largely governed by the perception that others will have of individual decisions.

There are studies that have understood how people have a tendency to change their opinion on an issue when the rest of the group thinks differently. This is due to the need for inclusion. Then, social influence allows access to the group in exchange for setting aside one's own ideals to make way for new ones.

Tips for dealing with peer pressure

How to counteract negative social pressure? It is convenient to know how to set limits when the situation requires it. Here are some practical recommendations that can be used to deal with it.

1. Define your principles

Being clear about the important principles in life will prevent you from being able to negotiate them easily. Remember that social influence prevails when the need for approval exceeds one's ideals. Thus, it is essential to define what those beliefs are that are not going to be negotiated in order to establish limits.

2. Be selective about friendships

By associating with people who have the same ideas about the important issues in your life, you are seeking a harmonious environment with few conflicts.

It does not mean that you should avoid or reject those who think differently from you, respect and acceptance will always be important. The key is in strengthen ties with those who share your ideals of principle and morality.

Read this article: Emotional communication: keys to knowing how to connect and express better

3. Strengthen self-esteem

The stronger your self-esteem, the less likely it is that you will end up giving in to social demands. Although this begins to be established from childhood, it is necessary to strengthen it throughout life.

A person with good self-esteem hardly negotiates his principles. Recognize personal achievements and value them it's a good way to keep your personal rating high.

4. Mark distance

Getting away from those who want to manipulate or influence your decisions will always be the best answer. Putting distance with some social groups does not make you a bad person, on the contrary, it means that you value yourself enough to put yourself as a priority before others. If to fit in a place you must please others above your true desires, the best thing to do is to retire.

Being alone is not bad

It is a good idea to learn to be alone and not feel uncomfortable about it. Loneliness can be quite productive when used for personal growth. Ideally, you should be able to feel good about yourself, either alone or in a group.