18 Mar Popularity and peer pressure
In general, most people like to hang out with other people who have similar tastes, qualities, values and interests. But, sometimes popularity and wealth can muddle our thinking and choices. After all, popularity and wealth often bring people social status, which feels good to many people. The question is, “Do you value social status?” What is important to think about is how much you value social status and what you are willing to do (or not to do) for it.
For example, some people just assume that being more popular will be a good thing so they are willing to hang out with people that are popular to gain some of that social status, even though those popular people may have hugely different values than that person. As a result, a person may end up doing things or saying things that go against some of his/her values in order to gain social status.
Let’s be real: social status makes some people feel comfortable, or powerful, or well liked, or…. what do you think it makes them feel? Some people don’t value social status as much, even though it feels nice, they don’t seek it out. Everybody is different.
In order to do what is right for you, think about the following questions:
1 What values are important to you?
2 What traits are important?
3 What priority do you place on each? (Perhaps make a list of values and traits you honor in order of importance.)
4 Are you keeping to your priorities with your friends? Or, are you sacrificing your values in order to gain popularity or social status?
In addition, social status is linked to another area of teen angst in the friendship world: peer pressure. Peer pressure can challenge our values as well. Peer pressure is when you feel pressured to do something because your friends are doing it and you are worried that if you don’t go along, your friends won’t like you as much or will view you differently.
The best way to avoid peer pressure is to hang out with people that have similar values to you.
By choosing friends that have similar values, you are less at risk to be asked to do something that goes against your values. You are less likely to feel peer pressure.
The best friends are friends that like you just for who you are, not for compromising your values to please them.