The term 鈥減eer pressure鈥 evokes images of middle school bullies or high school stoners, but as it turns out, peer pressure is just as real now that we鈥檙e grown ups. We often don鈥檛 pause to consider all the ways peer pressure affects our social settings in adulthood: Whether we鈥檙e being goaded into doing something uncharacteristically wild at a bachelorette party or attempting to quit smoking among a squad of steadfast smokers, it鈥檚 ever present.

And this comes as no shock once we looked into the science of peer pressure. According to a study by Nad猫ge Bault et. al, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, humans are practically predestined to succumb to our peers because the human brain puts an emphasis on impressing others in social settings. Makes sense, right?

Luckily, in the way that peer pressure has stayed the same all these years, so have the ways to fight it. Here are three tried-and-true ways to withstand peer pressure, adult-style.

1. Just say no, assertively. We鈥檙e taking a page out of D.A.R.E.鈥檚 handbook on this one. The response is simple yet effective, so long as you own it. Peer pressure often stems from a lack of confidence from the one doing the pressuring. The person is often seeking validation for their reckless or unhealthy behaviors from others. Your conviction will be off-putting, and they鈥檒l back down. If you鈥檙e close friends and you鈥檙e worried about offending, use 鈥淚鈥 language to soften the blow 鈥 for example, 鈥淚 am feeling this way 鈥︹ rather than 鈥淵ou鈥檙e making me feel this way 鈥︹ 鈥 but always remain firm in your answer.

2. Validate yourself. If you鈥檙e feeling a sense of guilt or remorse for skipping out on an activity, remind yourself of your reasoning 鈥 say, you turned down that expensive girls鈥 trip to save money for a new car. There鈥檚 a reason why you made this choice, and you know it better than anyone. Take mental note of the motivating factors behind your decision, or write them down, if that鈥檚 your style. Not only should your 鈥渘o鈥 sound confident (see number one), but it should actually be confident, and the easiest way to ensure this is by revisiting your reasoning from time to time.

3. Reevaluate your friend group. Thankfully, in adulthood, the breadth of our social circles expands beyond the schoolyard. If you鈥檙e hanging out with a new group of friends, and they鈥檙e pressuring you into behaviors that alienate you or make you uncomfortable, consider finding a new crew. It can be as easy as downloading an app. Things can get sticky when it鈥檚 a longtime friend pressuring you. But even then 鈥 and this might sound harsh 鈥 take the time to reconsider the values and basis of that friendship. For example, if you鈥檝e made the personal decision to quit drinking, a quality friend would support you rather than condemn you. Pick your peers with purpose, people!

What kinds of peer pressure do you deal with on the daily? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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