Movies, public television commercials, and sitcoms would all have you believe that one day, you're going to be standing next to a brick wall and someone is going to offer you a cigarette. The person offering it to you is going to have three or four friends behind them and they are all going to be staring you down, waiting in anticipation for you to give your answer...will you or will you not try the smoke????
Don't worry, this isn't how it happens in real life. You're never going to be suddenly surronded by people on the playground forcing you to try smoking, drinking or drugs.
However, one day you will be at a party or hanging around the school and someone will very casually offer you a smoke/drink. It will probably be someone you know, most likely it will be one of your friends.
Let me, let you in, on a big secret: they really don't care whether you smoke or drink.
They're just being polite and offering you some. They would probably prefer that you didn't because then they don't have to share.
So be equally polite, if you don't want it, then just say "no thanks, not my thing right now, but you enjoy it".
It's the perfect answer. And trust me, they're not going to argue with you. They're not going to surround you and push cigarettes or beer bottles in your face.
And don't ever worry that someone might not be your friend anymore if you don't do what they're doing. I've never lost a friend over that, and come to think of it, I don't know anyone who has.
As long as you're confident in yourself, peer pressure doesn't exist. It's just something that people who make decisions based on their own fear of losing friends created.
Readers - what are your thoughts???
Here are some of my favourite fake-shots of peer pressure...and my own ideas of what they're saying.
"You better drink this or you're out of the preppy gang!"
"C'mon Julie, I know we're only 10 years old but, we stole this from our Grandpa, and you better smoke it"
"Look guys, I already told you, knee-socks are my thing. I won't stop wearing them no matter what you do to me!"
"Join our cult immediately...or else."