I find it helpful to make sure that I have a plan ready to combat peer pressure if I find myself in the hot seat. My favorite method is to have an excuse ready (one rooted in the truth to make sure my reason is believable and easy for me to share), though there are many different ways to deflect. Your reason could also be as absurd and silly as you want. "Sorry, I can't get high with you. I have to fly my dragon on the way home." When someone you're close with is the one trying to manipulate your actions, have an honest conversation about how that makes you feel. Make sure that the people you spend time with are like-minded people who share your values, as this alone will significantly reduce the likelihood of being exposed to peer pressure in the first place. Another great option is to turn the pressure around on them, perhaps with a bit of a guilt trip attached, like "If you were a genuine friend, you wouldn't ask me to do that." If all else fails, Nancy Regan's Just Say No campaign from the '80s is still a great option.
It's worth noting that even the best thought-out plans may not be entirely effective in preventing or deflecting peer pressure. Stick with the idea you're the most comfortable with, and have a second in your back pocket, just in case. Stay true to yourself and your goals.
By Amanda Hulbert