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Peer Pressure in College is a Real Thing, and You Can Avoid it With These Tips

Female saying no to college peer pressure Peer pressure is something that high school students are warned about, but many don’t realize that it doesn’t just stop once you graduate. In fact, peer pressure in college can be even more damaging than high school’s version, because the stakes are significantly higher and everyone is now older.

You’re going to be on your own, which can be intimidating. This means you don’t have the comforts of home to run to or your family by your side to guide you. You’ll need to make decisions independently.

Take the time to take care of yourself and resist the pressures of conforming to be something you aren’t. Here are some great ways to make sure you stay strong and continue to resist.

Say No and Mean it

Sometimes you need to put your foot down and stay true to your own principles. Say “no” with authority in your voice to emphasize the fact that you are not willing to compromise your own values. Your friends might try to guilt you into doing something or make you feel bad for it, but the truth is that they may not even remember this a few weeks down the road. Additionally, the more you say “no,” the more people are going to give up on asking you.

Take Yourself Out of Stressful Situations

This seems like a simple concept, but sometimes it’s harder than you think to remove yourself from a situation where you could be pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. For example, if you don’t want to drink, don’t attend a party with your friends where you will be exposed to alcohol and the people who are drinking it. Instead, befriend people who like to do more healthy things, such as going bowling or to the movies.

Know Your True Friends

A true friend won’t try to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. If someone is continuing to persist, they are not worth your time and don’t have your best interest in mind, so the best thing to do is remove yourself from their friendship. While it might not feel great at first, you’ll know it was the right decision soon enough.

Delay Your Response

If someone is asking you to do something you don’t want to do and you don’t feel comfortable saying “no” upfront, delay your response. Say, “I’ll let you know,” or “let me check and get back to you” instead, to give you more time to build up the strength to say no.

Stay Focused on Your Social Life Without the Stress of Schoolwork

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(n.d.) Counseling & psychological services: How to handle peer pressure. The University of California Santa Cruz. Retrieved from

Bell, A. (2013). 20 ways to avoid peer pressure. Your Life Counts. Retrieved from