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Peer pressure and fitting in

When your mates pressure you to do or go along with something you don’t like, it’s a form of peer pressure. We've got tips and info to help you out in these tricky situations.

Boy being pressured to smoke by other teens

Peer pressure is something we all have to deal with

It’s okay to feel confused or struggle with peer pressure. Everybody faces it at some point in their lives.

  • By learning how to identify peer pressure you’ll get better at dealing with it

  • Standing up to peer pressure takes practice and courage – it can be scary at first

  • No matter how pressured you feel, you always have the option of saying ‘no’

  • You might have friends who enjoy taking risks or trying new things - it doesn’t mean you have to do it too

"I was being peer pressured to be mean to one of my friends... I knew it wasn't right and I felt awful that I was doing this to one of my closest friends."

–Josh, Grade 10

There are lots of situations where you might feel pressured to join in, even when you don’t want to

Here are some situations where you might feel pressured to follow your mates:

Taking drugs or drinking alcohol

Having sex


Shoplifting or stealing

Skipping school

Driving without a licence

Cheating on tests

Copying somebody else’s work

Dressing or acting a certain way

Not being friends with someone

It isn’t easy saying ‘no’ when you’re being pressured by your mates

You might be scared they won’t like you or want to be your friend anymore. 

It takes practice standing up to peer pressure and being true to yourself.

Try these tips for staying strong and not giving into peer pressure:


A confident ‘no thanks’ or ‘not for me’
Using humour to deflect pressure or attention
Move away from the situation
Be direct and say you don’t appreciate feeling pressured
Get support and talk to someone you trust
Know what you’re willing to let slide and what you’re not okay with

"They made me do things I didn't want to do. I felt anxious, pressured and lonely."

Everybody experiences peer pressure at some point in their lives.

If you’re feeling pressured to go along with your mates and aren’t sure what to do, we can help you figure it out.

Call us and talk to a Kids Helpline counsellor on 1800 55 1800. Or try our WebChat or join My Circle for more support. You’re not alone.

This content was last reviewed 14/02/2018

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