Peer Pleaser

When we think of peer pressure, we often pin that concept on high school kids. Maybe middle school kids as well. But that is certainly not the case. People strive to fit in all through their adulthood too.

I was an awkward teen growing up in Waukegan, Illinois. It was a difficult time of figuring out who I was and where I fit in. And I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

My hair had a mind of its own. Not like the other girls’ fashionably, styled hair. I’d often hide my hair in a bandana. I didn’t wear all the latest style of clothing although I treasured my bell bottoms, overalls, midriffs, and tube tops. My height was tall to where I did feel quite awkward. At one point, my best friend and I were 12” apart in height. Awkward. I was taller than the majority of boys my age. So when being made to dance in gym class, I believed I could die from the humiliation. I just knew that everyone was watching me. Like I was THE biggest thing in the gymnasium. So I thought. All through high school, I felt like a square peg being forced into a circle hole. I would have done well being homeschooled.

Trying to fit in was something of a challenge. I was insecure with a poor self-image. Body shaming was what I did best. So I took the path of least resistance. I became a part of the neighborhood “gang”. Not like in how the term gang is used today. Gang, as in a group of like-minded kids. No violence connected. No name given to designate who we were or what we stood for. Just a group of kids who would sneak out at night, drink Old Style beer and cheap Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, smoke cigarettes, and occasionally, pot, and laugh together for a couple of hours before going home and to bed for school the next day.

In my high school, which is no different from any other, peer pressure was intense. More like a pressure cooker. We all wanted to be liked. We all wanted to fit in. We would often sacrifice who we were to fit in with the cool kids, the smart kids, the athletic kids, the rich kids, the renegades…anything to be to feel a part of something we thought was bigger than ourselves. And when we didn’t fit, it was devastating. Peer pressure.

While not all peer pressure is bad, sacrificing the good in you just to belong is. Bullying, making fun of, or talking smack about those outside of your circle is a clear indicator that you are pressured by your peers.

As an adult, I see this cycle continue. Although it’s more about being peer pleasers. We certainly see this in politics. We adapt to the area in which we live. We take on what the majority around us believes. Throwing our own beliefs under the bus and disregarding what God says concerning particular topics.

We would rather please our peers than stand for truth in many instances…just so we fit in and are liked. Did we truly ever grow up?

Peer pleasers are often weak people. Many times there’s a giving and receiving of favors from one another to maintain a distorted relationship built on falsehoods. Sacrificing their own personal beliefs to fit in. Like fitting in gives some sort of leverage on life. I guess on some level it sometimes does. Money, power, control. But it’s all temporary. And it’s all empty.

Leaving what we know to be truth to chase something that is truly untrue gives us only shallow gifts in the long run. Anything built on a foundation other than God’s will fail. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but in the end it will fail and we will experience an even greater emptiness.

Being true to yourself (and to God) is the only way to find peace. Compromising truth to keep a so-called friend (or group of friends) is a lonely place to be. And you know this because you feel that truth deep within your soul and it doesn’t give you rest or any sort of peace.

Don’t be a peer pleaser. Stand up for what is good and perfect in the eyes of God. Then you can find the peace that surpasses all understanding, Philippians 4:7. ♥️


2 thoughts on “Peer Pleaser

  1. You are so right on what you said. The smiling faces are exactly what we “show” to everyone even if we are not feeling that way on the inside. Not pleasing others or falling under their pressure to follow their misdeeds can be a lonely life because that group cannot influence you. But you avoid so many negative issues/problems later by not following that crowd. Thank you for sharing your life lessons!

    Liked by 1 person

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