With the opening of states, peer pressure is rising

Key points

  • With the opening of states, the pressure of peers participating in social activities may increase.
  • This may lead to increased pressure on top of the pressure people have already felt.
  • It is vital to do what you feel comfortable with and clearly communicate your wishes.

Open your social media feed, and you may receive a violent shock of firm opinions about what the COVID-19 pandemic should and shouldn’t do. From real social distancing to disagreements about wearing masks, to discussions about whether to get a haircut or go to the gym, peer pressure plays a role in many aspects in our lives.

Below we will break down what peer pressure is and how the increased pressure in daily life may affect our happiness. We also help you understand how to effectively deal with peer pressure, including ways to avoid doing it yourself.

What is peer pressure?

To some extent, we all want a sense of belonging. In order to have this feeling, we often follow the “rules” of society, tend to be politically correct (or stay away, depending on our circle), and try our best to get along without disputes. This is where peer pressure comes into play.

“Peer pressure refers to when we feel affected or stressed, whether we believe in our peers or not, we must act like our peers in order to maintain or gain their respect or friendship,” psychologist, marriage license Colleen Said Colleen Mullen. And family therapist (LMFT).

“Peer pressure can be subtle or public, and the scope of influence can be simple, such as what you wear or eat, or even who you associate with and why you do it,” Mullen said.

COVID-19, peer pressure and mental health

This desire to integrate-and the peer pressure associated with it-has started when we were children and will continue throughout our lives. In the context of COVID-19, in many cases we may feel this pressure strongly.

Colleen Mullen, PhD in Psychology, LMFT

We have all seen critical posts, from direct insults to condemning remarks. Many states are now in a state of reopening to some degree, and new debates have emerged about who will go out and “live their lives” again and who will stay at home and wait for it.

— Colleen Mullen, PhD in Psychology, LMFT

Through many of her treatment clients, Mullen says she sees that this kind of peer pressure—whether on a peer-to-peer level or through social media messaging on a larger level—is exacerbating the spiritual pain in our society.

“On either side of the obvious’argument’, people are seeking to be verified in their preferences,” Mullen explained. “When we begin to question our own judgments based on feedback from others, our inner struggle can lead to cognitive dissonance.. Internal noise often stops us. We will not only feel confused, but also self-doubt, resentment, and comparisons between “right” and “wrong”. ”

How to deal with peer pressure based on COVID-19

Navigating in this new world we live in can be tricky, where just wearing a mask (or not wearing a mask) can elicit feedback from strangers and dear friends. Although this is a complex problem with many nuances, you can start by following the expert advice below.

be good to yourself

Considering the emotional, economic, and psychological impact our collective community has felt due to COVID-19, the level of disharmony, anger, and sadness around us is even higher. Therefore, one of the best things you can do now is to take care of yourself.

“Beware of things you can handle and things you can’t handle. Tell others the difference and keep yourself away from emotionally or mentally insecure places,” said Asha Tari, a psychotherapist, life coach, and author. Tarry) said.

In addition, it is not your responsibility to educate others or convince them that your position is not your responsibility-even if they are harsh on you. It is possible that you are already exhausted, and those extra, energy-consuming arguments are not making good use of your time now.

Avoid or distract the big debate

You may be passionate about education or sharing your findings with others. In this case, mild language is used by default and reliable expert guidance is used.

“I find that people don’t like being told or forced to do things against their will. As we know, this approach can sometimes negatively affect the well-being of others,” Tari said.

It may also cause others to be more inclined to their existing positions, causing the two sides to further confront each other. Tari said: “Instead of humiliating others, let people read articles from legitimate sources, and then you can follow up on their thoughts based on their reading and understanding.”

We are not saying that you should not express your concerns or share information, but make a conscious decision to do what works best for you. This includes avoiding angry social media rants and actively staying away from unhelpful arguments.

Try not to judge

Too many judgments are being imposed on others now. Using your own condemnation to increase the already boiling anger may get you nowhere.

“Remember, we don’t know what influenced someone’s thinking,” Mullen said. “We have tens of millions of people who are unemployed and they are desperately waiting for signs that the economy will recover from it. Some of us may not be aware of potential health problems (it really doesn’t matter to us).”

It may be difficult to bite your tongue, but please do your best to believe that other people are doing their best to get through it and that they are dealing with their own personal struggles.

Mullen added that this kind of pressure built up by work stoppages also created people with very fragile emotions. People feel anxious and fearful about the virus, the economy, the health of their loved ones, the loss of things that will not happen this year, and all these traumas that occur.

Gently demand the same return

Maybe your friend invites you out to play, or your stylist is urging you to make an appointment, you will feel uncomfortable. Or maybe a friend said that they are not keen on coming to your small backyard to have a barbecue or go out for brunch. In any case, give them the same non-judgment you hoped for.

You can say to spread the discussion, “I’m glad you invited me, but I don’t feel comfortable doing this kind of activity now. I know everyone has different levels of comfort now, and I can’t wait to feel safer. see you again.”

Or, if a friend says they feel uncomfortable, you can say something like: “I fully understand this is a complicated issue, and I am glad you told me how you feel. When you feel comfortable, I will be happy to meet you !”

If you are the person planning a gathering, please do your best to create an area that is not judged. For example, you can say: “I know that everyone now has different levels of comfort, and whether you can come or not is a zero judgment!”

Depending on your relationship, you can also engage in frank, curiosity-inspired conversations to better understand their positions.

What this means to you

You and everyone you know are unlikely to agree. Rather than tacitly acquiesce in anger, condemnation, or judgment, it is better to rely on goodwill, dialogue, and understanding. Obviously, COVID-19 has created a complex world, and the reality is that we are all doing our best to deal with this multifaceted pressure. Love will now go further than the opposite.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may receive updated information while reading this article.For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit our Coronavirus News page.