How do you get rid of the sins (for example Smoking) when Non-Believing friends compel us to do?
Even when you are confident in your decision not to use drugs or alcohol, it can be hard when it’s your friend who is offering.
A lot of times, a simple “no thanks” may be enough. But sometimes it’s not. It can get intense, especially if the people who want you to join in on a bad idea feel judged. If you’re all being “stupid” together, then they feel less self-conscious and don’t need to take all the responsibility.
But knowing they are just trying to save face doesn’t end the pressure, so here are a few tips that may come in handy.
Offer to be the designated driver. Get your friends home safely, and everyone will be glad you didn’t drink or take drugs.
If you’re on a sports team, you can say you are staying healthy to maximize your athletic performance—besides, no one would argue that a hangover would help you play your best.
Group of teen boys player soccer.
- “I have to [study for a big test / go to a concert / visit my grandmother / babysit / march in a parade, etc.]. I can’t do that after a night of drinking/drugs.”
Group of teen girls in a marching band.
- Keep a bottled drink like a soda or iced tea with you to drink at parties. People will be less likely to pressure you to drink alcohol if you’re already drinking something. If they still offer you something, just say “I’m covered.”
Two teen girls drinking soda.
- Find something to do so that you look busy. Get up and dance. Offer to DJ.
Teen girls dancing at a party.
- When all else fails…blame your parents. They won’t mind! Explain that your parents are really strict, or that they will check up on you when you get home.
A teen boy being scolded by his mother.
If your friends aren’t having it—then it’s a good time to find the door. Nobody wants to leave the party or their friends, but if your friends won’t let you party without drugs, then it’s not going to be fun for you.
Sometimes these situations totally surprise us. But sometimes we know that the party we are going to has alcohol or that people plan to do drugs at a concert. These are the times when asking yourself what you could do differently is key to not having to go through this weekend after weekend.
As you grow older, you’ll be faced with some challenging decisions. Some don’t have a clear right or wrong answer — like should you play soccer or field hockey? Other decisions involve serious moral questions, like whether to cut class, try cigarettes, or lie to your parents.
Making decisions on your own is hard enough, but when other people get involved and try to pressure you one way or another it can be even harder. People who are your age, like your classmates, are called peers. When they try to influence how you act, to get you to do something, it’s called peer pressure. It’s something everyone has to deal with — even adults. Let’s talk about how to handle it.
Defining Peer Pressure
Peers influence your life, even if you don’t realize it, just by spending time with you. You learn from them, and they learn from you. It’s only human nature to listen to and learn from other people in your age group.
Peers can have a positive influence on each other. Maybe another student in your science class taught you an easy way to remember the planets in the solar system or someone on the soccer team taught you a cool trick with the ball. You might admire a friend who is always a good sport and try to be more like him or her. Maybe you got others excited about your new favorite book, and now everyone’s reading it. These are examples of how peers positively influence each other every day.
Sometimes peers influence each other in negative ways. For example, a few kids in school might try to get you to cut class with them, your soccer friend might try to convince you to be mean to another player and never pass her the ball, or a kid in the neighborhood might want you to shoplift with him.
Why Do People Give in to Peer Pressure?
Some kids give in to peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other kids might make fun of them if they don’t go along with the group. Others go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that “everyone’s doing it” can influence some kids to leave their better judgment, or their common sense, behind.
Walking Away From Peer Pressure
It is tough to be the only one who says “no” to peer pressure, but you can do it. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you know the right thing to do. Inner strength and self-confidence can help you stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when you know better.
It can really help to have at least one other peer, or friend, who is willing to say “no,” too. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it much easier to resist. It’s great to have friends with values similar to yours who will back you up when you don’t want to do something.
You’ve probably had a parent or teacher advise you to “choose your friends wisely.” Peer pressure is a big reason why they say this. If you choose friends who don’t use drugs, cut class, smoke cigarettes, or lie to their parents, then you probably won’t do these things either, even if other kids do. Try to help a friend who’s having trouble resisting peer pressure. It can be powerful for one kid to join another by simply saying, “I’m with you — let’s go.”
Even if you’re faced with peer pressure while you’re alone, there are still things you can do. You can simply stay away from peers who pressure you to do stuff you know is wrong. You can tell them “no” and walk away. Better yet, find other friends and classmates to pal around with.
If you continue to face peer pressure and you’re finding it difficult to handle, talk to someone you trust. Don’t feel guilty if you’ve made a mistake or two. Talking to a parent, teacher, or school counselor can help you feel much better and prepare you for the next time you face peer pressure.
Powerful, Positive Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. For example, positive peer pressure can be used to pressure bullies into acting better toward other kids. If enough kids get together, peers can pressure each other into doing what’s right!
Ask 101 questions.
For example, if a pal pressures you to smoke, ask her why she smokes, how long she has smoked, if she minds having ashtray breath.
Say “No” like you mean it.
Make eye contact, then say “No” forcefully, with authority. The more certain you are in your refusal, the less people will bug you.
Back-up a no with a positive statement.
For example, if you’re turning down an offer to smoke weed, say something like, “I like my brain the way it is, thanks.”
Don’t hesitate to state your position over and over again.
Practice saying no.
Practice saying ‘no’ in safe environments, like when your big brother asks you if you’d like to spend Saturday night doing his laundry.
Get away from the pressure zone.
Leave the scene… make your exit.
Avoid stressful situations in the first place.
If you know there’s going to be alcohol or drugs at a party, make other plans. Or, if you’re going out with a guy, avoid being alone with him… anywhere he might pressure you to get more physical than you want to be.
Use the buddy system.
Find a friend who shares your values and back each other up.
9 Confront the leader of the pack.
The best way to handle a peer pressure bully is to nab him (or her) when the two of you are alone and explain how you’re feeling and ask him/her to get off your case.
Consider the results of giving in.
Take a moment to think about the consequences of your actions.
Look for positive role models.
Ever notice that the real popular and successful teens at your school are the ones who weren’t afraid to say what they like and don’t like?
Don’t buy the line that everyone’s doing it.
The truth is, everyone’s NOT doing it.
Talk out any peer pressure you’re experiencing with other friends who are also feeling the squeeze. I can be reassuring to know that you’re not the only one.
Be your own best friend.
Remind yourself every now and then that you’re special and nuke any negative statements.
Find ways to excel.
Challenge yourself to do your best. Focus your attention on following your personal goals instead of the goals of the group.
Don’t pressure others.
Watch out for any subtle forms of pressure you may be exerting.
Fight peer pressure by taking the side of the underdog. Supporting others’ opinions will send the message that you think for yourself.
Watch your moods.
Be aware that your moods can affect your sensibility.
Evaluate your friendships.
If your friends are always bugging you to do something you’re not comfortable with, remember that true friends like you for who you are, not who they want you to be.
Find new friends.
If you’ve decided that your friends don’t have your best interests at heart, search out new friends who share your values and interests.
Remember that you are important. Your life counts, and you can make a difference in this world. If you ever need to talk about this or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re here for you
Avoid the company of smokers
At first, it is better to avoid places where people smoke and to be with friends who don’t smoke. The enforcement of laws on smoke-free establishments is a real support when you are trying to quit. It’s now much easier to go to smoke-free cafés and restaurants. Be aware that it is difficult to resist the urge to smoke when you are surrounded by the smell of tobacco or see someone light a cigarette.
Drink alcohol and coffee in moderation
Many ex-smokers started smoking again after drinking alcohol, especially at night. Indeed, alcohol, even in limited quantities, gives rise to cravings and reduces self-control. Alcohol increases the risk of slips and then relapses. Coffee also brings with it the urge to smoke. Do not drink, or else be especially careful.
Resisting the influence of smokers
Do not be swayed by those that are bothered by your success and want you to smoke a cigarette. Remind yourself that many smokers other would like to quit too. Affirm your new identity as a former smoker. Answer for example:
“No thank you, I have freed myself free from this slavery.”
“No thank you, I do not smoke anymore!” (said with pride!)
“No thank you, I have decided not to poison myself with tobacco anymore.”
“No thank you, I don’t need cigarettes to feel good.”
Many Christians who have been heavy smokers for years can readily empathize with the plight of anyone trying to quit smoking and can fully understand the struggle experienced by those who desire to quit. Quitting is certainly not easy, but it can be done. Many two-pack-a-day smokers are now smoke-free and can attest to the fact that it can be done when we turn the matter over to God and rely on His strength and power.
There are numerous reasons why quitting the smoking habit is a good idea for everyone, but especially for Christians. If a Christian is unsure of why to quit smoking and unsure as to whether or not it constitutes sin, our article entitled “What is the Christian view of smoking? Is smoking a sin?” would be a good place to start. The reasons outlined in the article should provide ample motivation to a smoker who is still unsure whether or not to quit. Those who have determined to quit smoking should understand that, humanly speaking, stopping smoking is one of the most difficult things to do. Research has shown that nicotine is very addictive, even more addictive than heroin, some say.
But the addictive nature of nicotine need not discourage us. Paul tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV). Even though it is difficult, and full withdrawal may take time before one no longer desires cigarettes, as Christians we are to look to God from whom our help comes. We set our hearts on things above and pray the Lord will give us the strength to gain the victory in this trial. Some people leave the Lord out in their attempt to overcome bad habits, and that is a huge mistake. Prayer helps in these types of situations, and we are invited to take our problems directly to the throne of God and to Him who can solve them (Hebrews 4:16).
Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean that medical stop-smoking aids cannot be used as well. Many have received great help through patches, gums, pills, etc. After prayer and consultation with a doctor, if God gives you peace about using a medical stop-smoking aid, there is no biblical reason why you cannot.
God has declared that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Where we are weak, He is strong. Our desire for cigarettes will be reduced as we grow and gain strength in the Lord. The power of God will work within us to alleviate the pressure to smoke, all to His glory. God will give us the strength to put Christ first and ourselves last. In this we will find that what we give up will be more than compensated by what we gain.
Being immersed in the Word of God is essential for the Christian who desires to quit smoking. Here are some verses to memorize and meditate on, verses that have helped others gain the victory over a smoking addiction:
John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Hebrews 12:1–2, “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Romans 13:14, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
1 Corinthians 9:27, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Ephesians 4:22, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.”
Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Recommended Resource: Freedom from Addiction: Breaking the Bondage of Addiction and Finding Freedom in Christ by Neil Anderson