Friends are an important part of growing up. Your peers are going through many of the same things that you're experiencing and can play a supportive and positive role in your life.
Unfortunately, some of the people around you may not be your true friends. They may try to pressure you into doing things that you know you shouldn't do. This is called peer pressure.
For example, your friends may try to pressure you into trying cigarettes, vape pens, drugs or alcohol. If someone is trying to talk you into trying something you know is unhealthy or dangerous, this person may not be a true friend.
You may also notice peer pressure at school when your friends exclude one classmate from games during recess or activities during class. Your friends may glare at you when you talk to this person or try to make you feel bad for including them in the group.
Remember, it hurts when you are left out too. Always treat people with respect and kindness, no matter how your friends act.
Part of growing up is learning to make smart choices and decisions for yourself. Don't let other people pressure you – real friends will stick by you and respect the choices you make.
For more information about making healthy choices, visit these sites at KidsHealth.org:
Youth reviewers: Sloan Adrouny, Mira Bhatt
Reviewed by: Martha Simmons, MD, Ph.D.
Last reviewed: November 2018