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Peer Pressure

Hi Sam,

Recently my friends have been trying to get me to do things I'm uncomfortable with such as smoking weed, vaping and drinking. I don't want them to hate me if I say no however I have to say no as I don't want to do those things.

How do I say no without them hating me?

Thanks

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Sam

Hi there,

Saying no to something your friends want you to do is really hard. Wanting to fit in and not be singled out is something I hear a lot about from young people. Sometimes friends can put you on the spot and make you feel like you have to do something you don’t want to. Sometimes peer pressure happens slowly over time, making you feel like you can't be yourself. Having confidence in yourself is a huge step towards being able to say no to pressure from friends.

It's wrong for anyone to force you to do something you don't want to. When a friend offers you drugs or alcohol, saying no should be enough. If they keep on offering and make you feel like you have to do what they want, this is a warning sign. If you don't feel able to keep saying no, sometimes it can be best to walk away. Leaving means you don't have to face the pressure any more.

Being able to say no takes a lot of self-confidence. Self-confidence helps you feel good about yourself and express it to others. If you feel good about yourself and your decisions, it's easier to tell people what you want.

Feeling confident about yourself doesn’t always come naturally but it can be built up over time.  Sometimes you have to start by acting confident, even when you don't feel it. You can try this when you’re alone or out and about. Think and act like you’re confident and it begins to stick.

After a while you can start to assert yourself more. Saying no should be enough for your friends - and if it isn't, it's okay to ask them why saying no isn't enough or to leave and take yourself out of the situation.

If you'd like more support, you can get in touch with a Childline counsellor or search the message boards for advice and tips from other young people.

Thanks for your letter, I hope this has helped.

Sam

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