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Teen Voice - 10/14/2012

Peer Pressure
updated: Oct 13, 2012, 3:00 PM

By Kelsey Abkin

It seems when it comes down to it that people will do what they want to do. You can attempt to convince them, however, a mind that doesn't want to change is deemed immutable. I learned this from a friend, a best friend, who went from everything to a complete stranger. Our friendship did not end with resentment from either parties, it was simply that her path led one way, and mine the other.

It seems that a difference in morality between two people is enough to end even the closest relationships. There is a time in every person's life when they have to choose between their inner conscience and their outside desires. When you think of peer pressure, it's natural to imagine the cliche scenario, girl at a party offered alcohol by older boy and timidly accepts. However, peer pressure doesn't usually follow this cliche. From this same friend, I learned that the hardest peer pressure to refuse comes from those you love and respect.

It's easy to look a stranger in the eye and deny them, but refusing the people you care most for is where the real challenge lies. While I did regret my decision at first because her life was filled with the meaningless bliss of short-lived moments, I soon came to realize that these were only temporary. What would last forever would be the aptitude to stick to your own morals.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 331028P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-13 03:07 PM

a couple more tenets of friendship: loyalty and honor. a true friend doesn't throw their brethren under the bus during difficult times. the process of "othering" created the distance between you.

 

 COMMENT 331053 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-13 06:24 PM

Hang in there, good guys do win in the end. And the bad ones ultimately stumble, fail and age badly. And life offers multiple opportunities to regroup, reinvent and regain. But you simply can't yet know this. Neither did we.

 

 COMMENT 331080P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-13 09:54 PM

A wise friend advised me once when I was moaning about losing my best friend because of in depth differences of opinion/actions: "You can't lose what you don't have." It made me stop in my tracks, take note, and some time later when the once friend and I again connected, I was able to be realistic and open enough to enjoy the moments and not be crushed when they crumbled again. Indeed, the hardest is to decline to walk a path that feels not yours with someone you've loved and respected.

 

 COMMENT 331117P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-14 07:24 AM

Kelsey, I thought you graduated last year? Starting to wonder if you exist...;)
Yes, tough decisions are tough. It's easy to divorce a friend who is mean to you, but what about one who is perfectly wonderful but you just have nothing in common with?
Just like its easy to say things like "crime, I am against it...until you are hungry and broke and someone's food is left unattended in front of you; or war, I am against it...until you are attacked and lose loved ones...it goes on and on.

 

 COMMENT 331152P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-14 08:50 AM

And so begins your journey to find friends that share your values and interests in life rather than your classroom. My daughter has had the same experience- It's heartbreaking to lose a life long "friend", but if partying is more important to them, it's time to move on. This is a lesson you can take with you into love relationships also- you need to have similar core values for any relationship to last.

 

 COMMENT 331182 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-14 10:21 AM

Peer pressure in high school often demands conformance to the lowest common denominators. Success later as an adult asks one to reach into the highest common denominator of personal achievement.

The bottom rung of values is for losers. Which is why we have so many failures "graduating" from our public schools because this is where high school age peer pressure remains stuck.

With each year away from these negative teen year pressures, one recognizes they to have choices to grow into a responsible, independent adult. Some chose this route and others stay in their mom's basement.

 

 COMMENT 331385P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-15 01:00 AM

I must differ with some of the opinions expressed above.

Peer pressure, especially from "friends" we've known for most of our lives, such as buddies from our nursery school days, can be totally insidious and destructive of all the good values our own parents worked hard to pass on to us. All it takes, in some cases is one lapse, and we can be plunged into years and years of heartache, and ruined dreams.

When I was in SBHS in the late 1960's I had little choice but to distance myself from friends I'd known for over ten years, at the time. Those who allowed close friends' bad choices to affect them, became teenaged parents, or drug users, in some cases, out-and-out addicts, who spent years going through detox and rehab, and many of them were never the same afterwards.

Teenagers who maintain their independence from the crowd, including their best elementary school chums, have my support and respect. It's nothing to do with having a "holier-than-thou" attitude - in many cases, it comes down to the desire to survive and succeed in attaining one's dreams.

 

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