Peer pressure can come in many forms and may cause you to engage in behaviour that goes against your wishes, best judgement or plans. For example when a friend, colleague or family member who encourages you to gamble when you have made a promise to yourself that you will not.
Peer pressure can be subtle or not so subtle. It can be a constant niggle “come on, one more bet won’t break the bank” to words that can feel more threatening to your sense of self or to your membership of a group.
Giving in to peer pressure can initially relieve the immediate discomfort of feeling pressured but cause you further problems which are even harder to overcome.
What does it feel like?
Many people call us describing having given in to peer pressure and gambled against their better judgement. One of our counsellors recounted the following experience:
One caller was dismayed that after 10 months of being strong and not gambling he succumbed to peer pressure when he joined his colleagues for a get together after work, which turned into a session of gambling on the races.
This lapse unfortunately resulted in a period of continued gambling, plus financial and relationship problems. Trying to regain control by himself proved difficult, especially because he wanted to continue to be able to have drink with work colleagues. So he sought help from one of the counsellors at the helpline and he got the help he needed to get back on track.
How to manage
Managing peer pressure can be difficult and it is important to have some strategies to help you not be tempted. These strategies also let the “urgers” know want to maintain your resolutions – to not gamble for instance.
Some strategies you could try:
- Recognising it can be difficult to say no to peer pressure especially when in a social situation. If you start to find the pressure to gamble difficult to resist, it may be better to excuse yourself and leave.
- Learn how to say no, have a plan about how you will respond if people encouraging you to gamble. Responses like “Nah it’s a waste of money” “Not tonight I am a bit short” “Promised the wife/husband I wouldn’t”. Are some good examples. For some more inspiration check out this article.
- Be firm and clear about your decision not to gamble and explain your reasons if you feel able and if this helps support your decision. Most people just want to fit in. Sometimes people put pressure on themselves to fit into their social group. Don’t feel like you must change your mind or feel guilty about doing what is best for you.
- Consider if putting yourself in a certain situation is the right thing to do at the moment. If you are constantly feel pressured, maybe you need to consider a new social network with people who have similar values and interests as you if the pressure to gamble does not cease
- Reading about other peoples experiences and sharing your own experience can really help. You could join an in-person support group or an online community and see how others have managed peer pressure. Why not join our forum find out more here.
- Chat or talk to a counsellor, you can chat to one of our counsellors online by signing up here or you can speak to someone on the Helpline 1800 858 858