With the rise of social media and influencers, we live in a world where most of us feel the need to keep up with our peers. We’ve all been in a situation where we did something we would not normally do, by allowing other people to influence us to the point that we made decisions based on their values, instead of our own. Wanting to feel part of something or be accepted by your circle of friends can often lead you to make financial decisions you’re not comfortable with. Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing; it can be good when it helps you to give up bad habits and form healthy new ones and be a great motivator.
Here are some tips on how to handle peer pressure and money, no matter your age.
Realise your own values and stick to them
Your personal values and beliefs are important as they help you grow, develop and influence the decisions you make. Frequently ask yourself what’s important to you - and live your life according to this. The more self-aware you become, the easier it is to say no to bad financial decisions. Try this - make a list of what’s important to you financially. Make sure the list reflects what matters to you most. This process will help you get clear on what you care about versus what other people care about. Try to align your actions with what you discover.
Separate your why from someone else’s
What we value and the beliefs we hold have a profound influence on how we think about things and how we behave. Consider why people act a certain way – their behaviour might stem from a place of insecurity, fear or the need to belong. Before making a decision, check in with your values and decide whether your decision is something you feel comfortable with. Just because your friends live a certain lifestyle, doesn’t mean you need to keep up with them!
Say you’re on a budget
One of the best ways to say no to something you can’t afford is simply to tell your friends that you are on a budget. The majority of the time, your friends will understand and won’t pressure you into spending money when you don’t want to.
Trust your intuition
Trusting your intuition is age-old advice given for a reason - your intuition is usually right. Intuition is often described as our ‘inner voice’ or a ‘gut feeling’ you get when you’re in a specific situation. Your brain uses a combination of logic and emotion when making decisions. It helps you weigh up all the facts before you make a decision. Don’t get pressured into making financial commitments you know you can’t keep.
Don’t believe everything you see on social media
In a recent experiment, researchers from Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a test to discover what happens in people’s minds when they share social media posts. The results showed that people ‘Like’ or ’Share’ content that provide the potential for self-enhancement or social promotion, thereby showing them in a positive light to friends and peers.
Social media has had a huge influence on society and has completely changed how we live, interact and engage. Although social media has its perks, it’s sometimes easy to forget that everything we see and read online isn’t always real. The truth is, we don’t always get to see the behind-the-scenes of someone’s life - the ups and downs and daily problems. Don’t get wrapped up or let someone’s seemingly perfect life on social media influence you or your financial decisions.
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