How to Deal with Group Pressure

The fact of living within a society full of people with different interests and opinions has advantages and disadvantages.

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The fact of living within a society full of people with different interests and opinions has advantages and disadvantages. Being with others means that we have greater access to resources and information, but it also implies that we adapt to what the rest expects of us… which sometimes even unconsciously in contexts in which we give way too much.

Thus, group pressure is one of those disadvantages that we have to face when living in society or in groups of practically any size, given that we are inclined to accept the points of view that the majority imposes on us. In this article we will see several tips on how to deal with peer pressure.

How to deal with group pressure?

Although being surrounded by people allows us to reach very good standards of quality of life, it is known that we must maintain a balance between what we get from society and what we sacrifice to fit well in it. This can be applied to society in general, for example in relation to its laws and regulations, as well as in relation to portions of it: our work colleagues, our families, our friends, etc.

And it is that this balance between the defense of one’s own subjectivity and the points of view of those around us has always been a topic of study addressed by those who are part of the history of psychology.

For example, this is a topic that has great importance in the theories of psychic structures proposed by Sigmund Freud, according to which part of the rules and interests of others are internalized by the individual, to the point that he gives in to these elements without realizing it.

But Solomon Asch is the most discussed psychologist when talking about how group pressure affects our lives. This researcher in Social Psychology conducted studies on compliance in which it was seen how people have to express ideas coincident with those of others for the simple fact that many people supported them, despite being obviously false.

So, since knowing how to deal with peer pressure has a lot to do with detecting when we unconsciously bend to the will of others, let’s look at a series of tips on how to combine our own vision of reality with reasonable respect for interests of others.

1. If you can, anticipate what they will say

The first step is to stop and think about the possible arguments (or lack of them) that others will use to exert group pressure on you. This step is very useful to address the following, and in turn contributes to the surprises do not lead to a state of intense emotionality or anxiety that makes us lose control over what we say.

2. Do not stand on the defensive

One of the most common mistakes we make when we notice that there is social pressure directed towards us is to assume that it is necessary to withdraw from the conversation or the interaction, to assume a passive role that does not attract attention.

This, in most cases, is an error, given that it means giving in to the pressure of the group, although not doing exactly what others expected of us, at least making our actions not noticed, as if we did not exist .

Instead, what needs to be done is to redirect that pressure to those who try to exercise it against oneself. How to do it? Let’s see it in the following tips.

3. Question the relevance of these expectations

The first thing to do is to refer in the most concise way possible that what we are asked explicitly or implicitly is not something that we are obliged to do just because someone wants to. The ideal is to make this message interpreted between the lines, not expressed in an antagonistic or hostile way, because in this way the burden of explanations falls on those who exert group pressure.

For example, if in a group work you are expected to write the longest section, the ideal is not to attack others for trying not to take part of the effort, but to ask who has decided to divide the parts that way must do each and why it has done so, taking into account that the most equitable is to establish that division by number of pages, and not assigning sections.

4. Express yourself assuming that others want the best for you

In this last step, one must assertively express one’s own interests by speaking as if others took for granted that your position should be respected. In that way, others will be forced to adopt an antagonistic attitude, which is often uncomfortable for many people.