Social Emotions: Peer Pressure

Prepare for peer pressure
You’re now a Money Savvy Teen.

This means you’re developing a healthy relationship with money and learning to look at Your Whole Money Picture. It also means that you’re going to start making money decisions that are sometimes different from the decisions your friends make. It’s important to prepare yourself to explain to your friends why you’re not interested anymore in spending your money on some of the things they do.

A common scenario

A group of your friends might suggest you go to the mall, just for fun. (Remember, thanks to the ad barrage, many people shop out of boredom and consider it a hobby to visit stores looking for things to buy.)

Maybe you go with them, and walk from the clothing store to the video game store to the music store—and they buy stuff at every stop, but you don’t buy anything. At some point, your friends are going to want to know why you’re not spending any money.

This is where you could explain to them that you’ve started taking a new approach to your money and that you don’t buy things anymore unless:
1. you know you really want or need them, and
2. you know you can afford them.

GOOD TO KNOW

Peer pressure doesn’t end after high school or college. Your friends will still urge you to spend money on everything from dinner to the latest tech gadgets.

Reaction

One of two things will happen here.

Your friends might totally get what you’re doing and love the idea. In fact, some of them might ask you to explain your new approach and how they can try it too. Here’s a great chance to tell your friends about how to protect Monday Me, avoid the spending rip current and stay in their money stance. You might even become a trendsetter.

The other possibility, though, is that your friends won’t get what you’re up to, and they’ll push you harder to spend your money like they’re spending theirs. Peer pressure is tough. So here’s where you need a standard phrase you can use.

Have a standard phrase

You might say something very simple, like, “I’m watching my money for a while.”

That shuts down debate.

This is a good type of phrase to use if you have a persistent friend who doesn’t seem to want to let up until he gets you to spend. Just keep saying your standard phrase over and over—“I’m watching my money for a while.” Eventually, your friend will give up.

But you might also want to use your standard phrase to give your explanation about your new money philosophy. In that case, maybe you’ll say something like this: “I’m trying a new approach to money, spending only when I really want something. It’s been working out well. I’m saving a lot and buying a lot less junk.”

Some friends will be supportive

It’s important to remember that your new approach to money is going to make you stand out from your peer group. If you have good friends, all you need to do is explain that you’re trying to become more careful with your money, and they’ll understand and support you.

In fact, you might even find help and inspiration from your friends when they know what you’re trying to accomplish. It might also get your friends interested in learning more about your new philosophy. And that’ll give you a chance to teach them about what you’ve learned.

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Some friends won’t

If you have a friend who doesn’t support your new money approach, then chances are this friend is jealous or in some other way threatened by what you’re doing.

In this case, you can try to explain your plan to your friend, ask for his support, and maybe even offer to help him develop the same money skills you have.

Or you might choose to back away from this friendship, because anyone who won’t support your effort to improve yourself might not be a true friend, anyway.

QUOTABLE

A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
-Arnold H. Glasow

POP QUIZ

When you become more financially responsible, will your friends be happy?

QUIZ ANSWER
When you become more financially responsible, your friends may not do the same. Some may even be jealous and resentful.

Conclusion

The most important thing to remember here is that even though you’ve chosen to take control of your financial future, it won’t always be easy. There will always be pressure to spend.

Sometimes it’s subtle pressure that’s easy to ignore or deal with.

Other times the pressure will be quite intense and create strong and complicated emotions that can affect your friendships. The key is to be prepared for these pressures, like peer pressure from some of your friends, so you are prepared to deal with them when they come up.

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