Happy Memorial Day and start of summer to us U.S.A.-types.
In honor of that fact, here are some tools in case you’re one of *many* dreading the pressure-filled parties and gatherings which often mark today.
My personal first aid kit contains my drink of choice.
I don’t reflect upon my youth with a wistful “Ahhh if only I could go back there! Life was so carefree!”
It isn’t I didn’t enjoy it (I did–perhaps too much.).
I just recall how exhausting it was (friends, dating, school) even though with hindsight I can see how *not* stressful it should have been.
I strive to remember this when parenting: what may seem a *tiny* problem to my adult-eyes is a big deal challenge to a 10 year old.
Life as an adult-Carla, while fraught with responsibility, is far easier.
There are, however, two things we don’t leave behind as we age.
Two things which no matter where I’ve lived or where I’ve worked Ive found rear their ugly heads.
- Competition (We still do this? Haven’t we realized there’s room enough for us all to succeed?).
- Adult peer pressure.
The competition is a post for a different day, but the peer pressure notion is on my mind during this time of holiday soirees and indulgences.
This time of eat! drink! and be merry!
Before we proceed any further I should share I don’t drink.
I used to say I rarely drank but lately even the “rarely” hasn’t transpired.
back in the day I drank plenty.
There’s also no reason I stopped imbibing.
I ceased when dating a guy who didn’t partake and never bothered re-starting.
The way I felt the morning after drinking (some of which I now realize may have been gluten hangover) wasn’t worth it.
I’ve considered adding in red wine (health benefits), but I’m not a fan of the way wine tastes.
And I never think much about it.
Until I’m at a party. Or a book club. Or a neighborhood get-together. Or anywhere a group of grown-ups gather, alcohol is present & adult peer pressure begins to kick in.
People either ask what I’d like to drink (“I’d kill for a can of
chemicals Diet Coke“) or offer alcohol (“No thanks. Got anything carbonated?” ) and my declining invariably sparks questions.
You don’t drink?
Is there a reason?
Just have one. You’re no fun!!
You’re no fun.
It’s curious to me how often the phrase no fun is bandied about coupled with the implied sentiment of:
You’re making me feel guilty. Just have ONE drink!!
The more I’ve experienced this interaction the more Ive decided I cannot be alone in experiencing adult peer pressure.
The more Ive experienced this the more it’s helped me to unknowingly create an approach to combating this pressure.
It all boils down to five key things:
- I don’t offer excuses. I’ve learned the hard way people perceive hearing stories/reasons as an invitation to talk me out of my NO. Whatever your NO spare yourself and others rambling explanations (Ive just started Paleo and… Im trying to lose ten pounds before my New Years vacation…). They’re frequently heard as invitation for debate. Which leads me to…
- I practice a confident NO. If it makes you feel more confident arm yourself with the reasons behind your NO (food allergies, weight loss etc), just be certain you have confidence behind the two letter word. When I was a trainer many clients had eating plans derailed because they conveyed uncertainty in their food choices. Confidence conveys. If you seem wishy-washy others will view it as an opportunity to keep pushing.
- I remind myself it’s not about me. We’ve chatted about viewing negative people through this lens and the same approach applies here. Yes you need to stand up to adult peer pressure with confidence, but as with youth peer pressure when others are confident in their choices they wont pressure you to join them. People feel group participation validates behaviors when they are uncertain about said behavior solo.
- *I* don’t accidentally pressure. It took growing honest with myself to acknowledge *I* can be pressuring too. Sure mine comes from a place of enthusiasm (OMGOSH! You *need* to get a pedometer!!!) yet there’s a fine line between my wanting to share my love of something and becoming an unintended pressurer.
- I seek positive peer pressure. This is a big one for me lately. Ive watched my daughter blossom due, in no small part, to positive peer pressure around her. Ive worked to surround myself with people I long to emulate as a form of reverse peer pressure (which now begs the question: Do they realize I’m doing this?).
For me, with the drinking example, it’s not hard to stay committed to my path.
an evening of not being true to myself/listening to my body isn’t worth feeling like crap less than my best the next day.
As with the rest of life it can take time and effort to shift to this mindset, but once you do it works.