What Influences Our Decisions?

Valerie Sholes, Staff Member

Our peers around us play a big role in our lives, even though it may not seem like it. They can play a big part when it comes to making decisions. Some decisions can be life changing, so it’s important we are careful whether we let our peers influence us positively or negatively.

Negative Effects of Peer Pressure:
One big way people, typically more adolescents than adults, are affected by peer pressure is with alcohol use. When you’re with a group of people, or maybe just one other person, and you see them drinking and they offer you some, it can be hard to say no. You may feel pressured into doing something you don’t think is right because you don’t want to feel excluded or disappoint your fellow peers. Same goes for drug use and many other risky behaviors as well. When making decisions we often think about the risk and reward of the choice we’re making, and with other people around us we’re most likely going to ignore the risk and just think about the reward of our choice.

Positive Effects of Peer Pressure:
Even though peer pressure has many negative effects, it can have positive effects as well. Your friends and peers can be good influences for you in many ways. They can help bring out positive ways of thinking. Like, if you see your friends working hard in school to make good grades, then that may encourage the people around them to do the same. The effect of the influences of our peers is greatest during your high school years, so if you choose who you let influence your decisions wisely, your life can get impacted positively.