[social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted.]
One of the hallmarks of a proper teenage life is our much-loved or derided ”peer pressure”. We have all gone through that phase , loved it because we were too high on some pot to care, walking funny with a quasi ”hip hop swag” in our walk, talking with an American slur to impress the girls, helping your friends thrash your house master’s vegetable garden, wearing a pair of psychedelic mismatching pairs of socks around campus, walking around campus with a metallic comb in your afro, experimenting in homo and or heterosexual relationships and the list goes on and on. But my particular interest is in the fact that most of us never out grow peer pressure in all its forms.
I know a couple of 20 and 30 somethings who still havent discovered themselves. Theirs is a long path to self discovery. Most still haven’t figured out whether to join their friends in smoking and or drinking on a night out; haven’t figured out if they like or loath clubbing or loud music for that matter; staying an extra hour to save face even though you know your ear drums will burst any second and end up staying up all night with tinnitus singing sweet melodies in your ear.
Some still haven’t figured out the grown up way of walking. You know what I mean. You do not walk into a board meeting with a limp-swag with your left hand grabbing your crotch greeting the board with a ” wazzap my niggas” and later give your boss a lame excuse of having temporary insanity and paralysis in one leg and a testicular fungal infection, to keep your boss from firing your affected ass. That is not the grown up way of doing things.
Others still wont learn from their work colleague’s mistakes but end up repeating them, having an affair with a co-worker just because the word going around is that she is an easy lay. Wife hears about it. All hell breaks loose. Leaves their marriages in tatters.
Some people might claim that only weaklings succumb to peer pressure but I wouldn’t agree entirely with that. I know that so far I have come up with the negatives of peer pressure, which are frankly, the ones we talk about the most.
Believe it or not there are positive effects that peer pressure can have on a person. We have all at one time been pressured into taking God more seriously and make it a habit of actually going to church ( not only on Sundays), listen to the pastor’s sermon from start to finish, without nodding off ( for an agnostic like myself, this is like impale my left testicle with a blunt needle). And on some occasions we have consciously developed an appetite for reading widely because we like the influence knowledgeable guys have (Geeks rule the world :-). Some times we can even find ourselves part of a circle of friends who are avid music lovers, so we take up djing or start collecting records so can plug-in to that crowd.
So no I don’t think peer pressure only affects wimps; even though majority of the victims of its negative aspect are. If you enjoy hanging out with a rough crowd , then you will rough things up in your own life. Whereas a more positive crowd will also influence you so. And this cuts across all age groups, class and creed.
I know some times the line that separates childhood and adulthood can be severely blurred especially when you are the one doing the growing up. Most of us like things to stay the way they are because for all you know one moment you’re 18 living a carefree life the next you wake up next to your obese wife with five brats running around the house and you just don’t know how and when it all happened. We desperately need little souvenirs, relics from days gone by , around so we’re not constantly reminded that we could be shitting our pants and have no recollection of having done so, in some years to come. With this fear in mind comes the carry forward of youthful affectations into our adult life.
A guide-book to life and living it must be written, collectively if necessary, by our old ones so that the young ones don’t suffer as much as they do .What do you think about that? A book detailing , at every step of the way, what to do or not to do , what to wear or not to wear, and so on. Actually I would like to write something like that now but alas I am, not experienced enough to write a book that thick. I am still learning. I am what I call life’s hunched-back apprentice, watching, listening, documenting with keen eyes, all of her secrets and her overt sense of dark humour so I can one day pass down some ”Nyansa” ( wisdom ) to my unborn kids.