Peer pressure is one of the biggest challenges of teen life. It’s hard to make good decisions sometimes when other people are influencing you to do the wrong thing. Let’s hear a story about peer pressure from Danielle P. as she shares her personal story.
Blooming Sunshine: Hi Danielle, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Tell us how peer pressure affected your life.
Danielle: Well, I was affected by peer pressure when I was in high school. I had just moved to a new city with my Mom and I didn’t know anybody. I was pretty social at my old school, but I didn’t have any friends at my new school. I was also an only child, and I was bored.
I was sitting in my front yard one day and saw a few girls hanging out, and I started talking to them. They weren’t like my old friends, but they seemed pretty cool. I started hanging out with them at school too. One day after school we were in my back yard and they started smoking cigarettes. They offered me one but I said no. They made fun of me, saying “oh, she thinks she’s too good for us”, so I tried it, even though I didn’t want to. I smoked a few times with them, but I stopped because I just didn’t like it and every time I did it, I felt bad about it.
They labeled me the “good girl”, because I was the one in the group that was “too good” to do the things that they were doing. I secretly hated the way they made me feel but I didn’t want to be without friends so I tried my best to ignore it.
One day after school they started talking about a neighbor’s house. They knew the man was out of town, and they wanted to go in his house to see what they could find. I told them they were crazy, but again, they jumped on me talking about how good I was, and then I was told that I had to live a little and stop being so lame. They said they weren’t going to take anything, that they just wanted to look around so I agreed to go with them.
Blooming Sunshine: What happened once you got in?
Danielle: We went through a window. I went last because I was scared. I stood in his kitchen the entire time, not looking or touching anything while they went throughout his entire house. They said they weren’t gonna take anything but they basically robbed him. It happened so fast and after it was over I went straight home. I felt horrible.
Blooming Sunshine: Did you get caught?
Danielle: Yeah. We didn’t really talk about it after it happened, but about a week later a cop showed up to my house. Turns out the neighbor had a security camera outside of his garage and he knew who we were so they arrested us. We were charged with burglary. Even though I didn’t steal anything, in the eyes of the law I was just as guilty because I went into his house, which was breaking and entering.
Blooming Sunshine: What did you tell your Mom?
Danielle: I was so embarrassed and I tried to tell her I didn’t do anything but she was still very angry with me for even going with them. She told me I couldn’t hang out with those girls anymore.
Blooming Sunshine: What was your punishment?
Danielle: One of the girls had to go to a juvenile detention center, because she had been in trouble before, but the rest of us got probation and we had to stay a weekend in a juvenile detention center.
Blooming Sunshine: What did you learn?
Danielle: I learned not to do things just because people pressure me into it. After that, I spent some time without friends for a while and it was tough but eventually I made new friends who were better to hang around. I started standing my ground more and if someone tried to make me do something I didn’t want to do, I said no and stuck to it.
I could have never imagined I would do what I did, but now I can see that giving in to peer pressure will make you do things you never thought you’d do, but you don’t have to give in. You can say no, and that’s totally ok! You might feel like a loser at first, but it will be worth it in the end, and you’ll feel stronger for standing up for yourself and your choices.
Blooming Sunshine: What’s your advice for girls who are struggling with peer pressure?
Danielle: Make your own decisions. Don’t let people make them for you. If they make you feel bad or make fun of you, so what. You don’t want to get in trouble or mess up your life just to please your friends. If they don’t like you unless you do certain things, you shouldn’t be hanging out with them anyway.
Blooming Sunshine: Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Back-round photo by Andrey Niqi from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-tree-254179/