Pressure from friends

“Everybody’s doing it,” so it must be okay and if you say no, you run the risk of becoming a social outcast. Peer pressure is when someone convinces you to do something against your better judgment. It can happen without you realising it.

But rising above these challenges is one of the skills that will help make you a successful adult – any loser can say yes…

Resisting peer pressure is difficult.

There is the fear of rejection or being made fun of. Teens all over the world want to be liked and don’t want to lose their friends. Sometimes you feel confused, so you just say “yes”.

So how do you resist drinking when you don’t want to?

Saying ‘no’ to drinking in situations like at a party can be hard. The first time may be especially difficult, but keeping at it, makes it easier.

Firstly, understand and prepare your heart-felt reason for not wanting to drink. It could be because you’d rather concentrate on sport or school, or for religious reasons. Or just because you want to wait until it’s right (and legal). You don’t need to apologise, or blame your choice on others. Stand your ground without lame excuses. It’s your right to say “not for me, thank you.”

‘The Positive No’

is a good technique for resisting and maintaining teen cred. Unlike an ordinary ‘no’, a ‘Positive No’ begins with a ‘yes’ and ends with a ‘yes’. The ‘Positive No’ involves, first of all, saying yes to yourself and what is important to you. Here’s an example:

Yes: “I need to go to soccer practice because I want to be play for South Africa one day.”
No: “So I cannot go out drinking with you.”
Yes!: “I value our friendship. I still want to hang out with you, I’m just choosing not to drink with you.”

Physically asserting yourself will make people take your ‘no’ seriously, so stand up straight; make eye contact and say how you feel clearly, don’t mumble.

Hollywood starlet, Drew Barrymore, grew up in the limelight. She starred in the blockbuster, ET, when she was only seven. But by age 11, she was an alcoholic, and was admitted to rehab at 14. Her turbulent teens threatened to compromise her talent and ruin her future. But in her 20s, she learnt to say ‘no’, regained her career focus, and today is a leading film producer and actress. But there are many tragic stories that did not end as well: Lebo Mathosa being killed by her own (allegedly drunk) driver; Amy Whinehouse dying young after an extreme alcohol habit and our own Brenda Fassie whose wild alcohol-fuelled lifestyle eventually resulted in her death.