Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Peer Pressure.

This girl, not in my department, was seen smoking near Milon-da's today. Now one might think, Oh, smoking in JU isn't such a big deal- everyone does it. That's not the point. The point is that this girl always seemed to be so NOT the type. I've seen her hanging around with a group who regularly smoke, and perhaps even smoke 'up', but never once have I seen her with a cigarette in her own hand. Today really opened my eyes.
(I don't have a problem with smoking as such- people are free to screw up their bodies if they wish- it's nothing to do with me. But it was so evident that this girl was doing it just to fit in. Sad. Really sad.)
I've seen girls who seemed oh-so-prim-and-proper in school to become part of 'bad' groups in college, and become complete sluts later. Girls who swore they'd never smoke- they smoke now. Girls who said they didn't believe in multiple boyfriends- that they'd be with one guy for life- to change boyfriends as frequently as they brush their teeth, just because their friends are doing the same. Does the repression just get to them after a while? Do they forget all the promises, good intentions and philosophies that we start life with? Or do they just vanish when they meet the wrong kind of people? Or does the freedom go to their head?
Why do something just to be cool? Why do something just to fit in, just to make sure no-one thinks you're a loser?
I don't get what suddenly happens. Is it an urge to be cool, to be 'in'? A need to follow the group? A sense of obligation towards your peers? I've seen very few people to have a real sense of individuality.
Wow. Peer pressure sure is one nasty thing. It makes you do the most terrible stuff. (I'm not talking about smoking- there are worse things than that.) Terrible stuff - like compromising your principles.


the soliloquist said...

It does. I absolutely know what you mean...
That's why you should be vewy vewy careful in choosing your peers.

Shreya said...

Ya its sick!And its actually really uncool to smoke and screw up your body.Sheesh,everyone has got their notions of being "cool" so wrong.I pity everyone who smokes just to fit in,as you said....really sad!

:: Clouds :: said...

Totally true. Some people do 'bad stuff' just for conformity among peers. But doesn't that show that they have no personality of their own...?!

And they call it 'being cool'.

Esmo said...

how very true..id never change my hairstyle..never!!!!!!

quietlittleshything said...

baby, sometimes it's the urge to fit in and sometimes it's just how your perspectives change as you grow up. when we're kids, we tend to think relatively more in terms of black and white, finer and finer shades of gray begin to make sense as we grow older. which is why younger people make more radical claims, and when they grow up they don't bother to stick to exactly those, because their definition of a "good" person has become subtler by then.

but anyway. i think i know who you were writing about. in her case, it might actually be more of peer pressure than the justification i gave. the justification is mine :D

little boxes said...

hmm...thats a touchy issue.but arent we generalising here?
agreed some of them do it to fit in...but then there are people who smoke(up?) because they want to...maybe they derive some satisfaction outta it...
ofcourse i agree it doesnt do great things to their health systems,but they being individuals should be allowed their space...
and believe me,ppl who do it to fit in,grow outta it sooner or later if they dont like it...if they claim they like doing it,then just let them be.
and to end,i add that it's completely my personal opinion and anybody getting rubbed the wrong way with this,is completely unintentional...

Dream Baron said...

i so totally agree with BDC... U rock!!!
And its really stupid 2 do something that ambience forces u do..i took 2 smoking on my own, no one forced me to it..i am not taking any credit that i am a smoker, my labs tell me that my lungs are gradually turning pitch black..but all of us here will one day turn into fertilizer for flowers and vegetables...and smokers are just hastening its manufacture..but sumtyms u know wen u've got to handle multiple ends..family..work..hobbies..labs.............all by urslf in cold desolate deserT! it gets on ur nerves!!!!!

Sayan said...

Judgment is always circumstantially relevant,and the self continues to manipulate beliefs(not go entirely against them,for contradiction is never easy to build) to fit in. Even if the individual adapts,changes to do something that the his subconscious vaguely regards as harmful,he's doing it for there's pleasure involved,emulating the 'known bad' for his own interest.

I wonder,is it easy to pretend? Is the individual capable of doing something against his beliefs on his own,own free will for achieving some kind of a distorted greater good? If that's the case,if the individual consciously self-mutilates without really wanting to,then yes,do blame it on the lack of integrity and flimsy judgment.

My point : If there's a justification(and we aren't exactly talking about mass violence) behind the act,and if the individual is doing it just to alleviate his temporary hedonistic whims,or is balanced enough to never over-indulge,then there's nothing wrong with it,I'd say.

And now,I stop.

Fishy! said...

@ The Soliloquist: Very true, though very often we can't be smart, we become friends with people who later bow down to peer pressure.

@ Shreya: I know it's uncool dearie, but people seem to think it's cool- puffing away. Most people have most notions wrong. I guess it takes all kinds to make a world.

@ Clouds: It does show that, maybe they think it shows that they're 'hep' or 'cool', or whatever they like to call it.

@ Esmo: Hairstyle?? You don't even have much hair!!

@ Quietlittleshything: Agreed, one might look at grey shades of life and make sense of them, but in 99% of the cases, it's just an urge to do what everyone else is doing, isn't it? I'm sorry, but I don't agree with what you said about perspectives changing, not in the case of peer pressure, atleast - I think we need to stay faithful to some things, and everyone seems to take the easy way out.

@ Little Boxes: Erm.. In case you haven't noticed, I haven't blamed anyone in my post, neither am I treading on anyone's space. I am generalising, yes, anyone would. Agreed, a few people do it just because they like it- but what percentage is that? And the people who do it just because they think it's cool, usually DON'T grow out of it sooner or later. They go on to do nastier stuff, and develop a herd mentality that sticks on for life.

@ General: I'm not being judgemental here, neither am I condemning anyone. People are free to do what they want. Some people do it to be cool. Some people do it for other reasons. As I said, it takes all kinds to make a world. In the case of peer pressure, I just don't like the idea of being weak.

Fishy! said...

@ Dream Baron: Uff, people who comment on my post, please read it carefully! I am not, repeat NOT, talking about people who turn to smoking on their own, I am talking about people who succumb to smoking (and suchlike) due to peer pressure! Never once have I condemned people who smoke due to their own free will, go check the post. Erm.. And smoking helps you deal with your stress? Fine- if you say so...

@ Sayan: Jesus Christ! Read my post carefully! I have NOT condemned smoking. So I would be happy if you didn't make it come off like I did. As I said, people are free to screw up their own bodies. I am merely talking about the power of peer pressure.

SPIRITed! said...

Peer Pressure led to me being patriotic.Seriously.My friend turned out to be one hell of a I-will-die-for-India-with-a-straight-face types,a la Rang De Basanti style.So there.

Sayan said...

I know you didn't. I digressed from the direct argument and attempted to analyze how and why a person should do a certain thing(be it from peer pressure,or some equally compelling reason) against his judgment(read : transient,changing).


Fishy! said...

@ Spirited: What's the 'So there' for? Peer Pressure ultimately is a need to follow everyone else. If you had become patriotic due to your own free will, then it would be a different matter. As the matter rests, you followed someone else.

Esmo said...

@dream baron..look mate..we all will undoubtedly suffer an all systems shutdown someday..but have u any idea how slow and how painful a death from lung cancer is??no?thought so!!!think about what ur saying the next time u say it!!!
@sayan..dude is that really u speaking ,or are u quoting from one of those self help books with titles like Self Emancipation..jerking off aint the only way!!!!!cos then those irrelevant tangents u take would be very easily explained!!!word of advice...stop it..u sound like the queens bastard thakurdada
@everyone in general..never in this article have smokers been condemmed..fishys just been atacking spineless puppets..but if i were her id attack smokers too..u guys put out high philosophy about living life and dying eventually...but do me a favour...before u do that just go and look at a cancer hospital..and ull know im not talking thro my hat!!!!

:: Clouds :: said...


Looks like most of the bloggers are taking this post personally.

The Mad Girl said...

Hii.This is the first time I'm commenting on your blog.
yes peer pressure definitely can lead you astray and I agree with you completely when you say that one shouldn't compromise with one's principles in life, come what may.

But we formulate most of our principles when young and in most cases they are narrow and biased.Like Mandy so correctly pointed out, we as children tend to see things as black and white, as good and bad but as we grow up and see the real world around us,the distinct line that existed earlier starts getting blurred.So the principles become more flexible and tolerant.It's man's psychological way of adjusting with the constantly changing faces and phases of life.

It's rather painful to 'unbelong' and not many can endure loneliness for long.Even a very strong 'individual' certainly feels the need to belong to a group of like-minded people.Again, in most cases a person discovers his 'individuality' when surrounded by a group of individuals.so for people who have suffered from insecurity and friendlessness, it's very important to belong and the threat of 'compromising with principles' isn't a serious one compared to the threat of staying friendless and lonely.so you see we can't always blame people for yielding under peer pressure.

Nice thought-provoking post.:-)
p.s. I ditto shreya. Smoking is UNCOOL.

Fishy! said...

@ Clouds: So they are... Strange...

@ The Mad Girl: I haven't blamed anyone, neither have I condemned anyone. If one compromises his or her principles because of the scare of 'not belonging', well, then, it doesn't say much, does it? Agreed, with age and maturity, principles change- but why should we allow ourselves to drift towards what we condemned in the first place? Call me immature or naive- but I believe that strength of character and determination to stick to certain principles rules all. But then, people are different, they have different opinions- and it takes all kinds to make a world.

Bodhisatwa said...

I completely suscribe to what quietlittleshything is saying.
And while we are on that subject, i'd like to know who quietlittleshything is.
So Tuna, arrange that.

I did'nt think I'd smoke. Now I do. And now I want to quit. I always wanted to be with ONE girl. And well, lets not get into what happened to THAT.
So yeah, perspectives change.

As you grow older, and hopefully more mature, you will realize that things are not just black and white (quietlittleshything, beautifully put). There are shades of grey.

And sometimes even yellow.

We just have to open up our eyes and see all that colour. It'll blind us at first. But we'll get used to it.

Colour never hurt anyone.
Did it?

Fishy! said...

@ Bodhisatwa: Life has black, white and grey. Maybe even yellow or pink. I'm not denying that. I'm talking about peer pressure and what it can do to a person. A person who succumbs to peer pressure doesn't succumb because her 'principles' or 'perspectives' have changed, it's the scare of not fitting in, ultimately. Why are people moving off the topic here?

Joé B R said...

at the end of the day hon, as long as you dont take up smoking and dont change boyfriends at the bat of an eyelid, you should be fine, isn't it?

speedpost said...
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speedpost said...

Aha touching quite a many nerve aren't we?

But its a matter of opinion at the end of the day. I don't want punctured lungs so I don't.
But then again that is human nature.
I like the smell of petrol and homeopathic medicine today.
And right now,someone somewhere is falling in love with nicotine. Judging, while inevitable, spoils the process of observation.
Which is what we are here for ultimately.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

"I don't have a problem with smoking as such- people are free to screw up their bodies if they wish"

that should have been your post.

it isn't really compromising on principles or anything, i think. just that people change. and most of them know what they're getting into, so why bother? you're breathing as many fumes through the rattly exhaust of a minibus (which, incidentally, happens to me everyday). doesn't every human being have some sort of addiction? if smoking happens to be half the world's, what of it? the other half may be addicted to things far more or less potent.

let it be =)

Fishy! said...

@ Joe BR: The post is on peer pressure, and succumbing to it! Pay attention!

@ Speedpost: Yes, it's a matter of opinion- everyone has their own, I have my own too. And my post is not about smoking (I took it merely as an example), I am talking about how people can fall victims to peer pressure and lose their individuality.

@ Doubletake, Doublethink: Uff, I would have thought YOU of all people would have got what I meant. Focus on the larger issue here- peer pressure. I don't have a problem with people smoking- it's their own thing, their own choice.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

arre i got that all right, but i still think it's a very overrated issue. if you can't decide what you ought to do and who you want to hang out with, you'd better mess up, straighten up and say "we learn from our mistakes" or some such without acting like your life's ruined. i just thought the whole compromising principles thing a bit much =)

Fishy! said...

@ Doubletake, Doublethink: Possible. Bowing down to peer pressure is just weakness at the end of the day. But in a way, it IS compromising on your principles-if you do stuff that you wouldn't have done ordinarily, just to fit in.

beyond the realms of the rational mind said...

aah well...it IS rather sad to see people succumbing to peer pressure.And please people,Tuna just used smoking as an Example....the post is NOT about condemning people who smoke!

rukmini said...

since we ARE on the subject of Peer Pressure: when you're in a group where every other member conforms to certain "ways of living", it takes helluva lot of courage and strength of character to reject those ways, and retain your individuality. and also, to be prepared to face the consequences. which is probably why most people like taking the easy way out. and this applies to other aspects of life as well. So don't let the occasional "peer-pressurised smoker" disturb you- that is the least of our problems...i think.

Fishy! said...

@ Beyond The Realms Of The Rational Mind: Thank you! :) Glad to see SOMEONE backing me up here!

@ Rukmini: Probably, yeah, it is a problem nonetheless, which leads to bigger problems.

Opaline said...

I was trying to remember why I used to smoke up, I did it because everybody was doing it and I wanted to know why. My principles are always open to experiment, this way I have no uninformed prejudices. It took me about two year to be repulsed by cannabis and alcohol too, to some extent and this is the sort of repulsion that will never go away. Whereas your brand of repulsion is fragile. Or would be if I were you but then I suppose you're far more sorted than I'll ever be.

Elendil said...

Ermm.. I have to say, this reads like a Victorian moralist's preachings on what is right and what is wrong. What gives you the right to judge other people's actions through the myopic lens of your own values? Firstly, people once old enough, have the right to do what they please. If it harms them, then they should have the maturity to realize it. You're not in school any more and the test of character that college is, is a vital part of growing up. When I first entered college, I was as shocked at the open display of so called vices. But then as I began to grapple with some of these problems myself, I began to realize there's much more to it that 'right' and 'wrong'. Its all about your own values.

What I am shocked at is that you would point out a girl smoking, and not a guy. You noticed that because society puts a taboo on women smoking. And this bit - 'Girls who swore they'd never smoke- they smoke now. Girls who said they didn't believe in multiple boyfriends- that they'd be with one guy for life- to change boyfriends as frequently as they brush their teeth, just because their friends are doing the same.' - is just unbelievable. What on earth does smoking have to do with sluttishnes?! That is an incredible generalization. What, only 'bad' girls who smoke can have many boyfriends? The whole thing reeks of a deep fear of being liberated. I say, let girls who want to change boyfriends do so. What's it to you? People are people. Why judge them with such ridiculously conservative ideals?

Girls smoking? What about boys smoking? All your life you've seen men walking down the road holding cigarettes and not noticed it. Look around you. Every other guy on the streets is fagging himself to death and it only hits you when you see a girl smoking?! Why attack female promiscuity? Why not male promiscuity? How about the fact that men who have many girlfriends are seen as cool 'ladies' men' and girls who do the same are called 'sluts'?

And what on earth is the connection between smoking and promiscuity? Let me point out, that bengalis, who amongst races smoke the *most* tend to be the most sexually repressed, and Americans who have dozens of boyfriends in their lifetimes and under your moral judgement would all be horrible sluts, smoke very little in comparison. Sure, smoking is bad. No doubt about it. But why mention promiscuity in the same breath? are you saying there are no good people in the USA?

I think the repression is getting to *you*. Free your mind. The world is too big a place and human actions have too many motivations to be classified and judged as 'good and bad'.

Right, er.. I just had a little rant there. Forgive me if for any harsh words, but that post of yours really caused a rush of blood to my head.

Elendil said...

.. And I completely agree with what Mandy and some of your seniors have said. When you're 18, you have all these 'principles' and your view of the world is black and white. Just you wait. In a few years life will fuck up all your beliefs and you'll realize just how bloody complicated things are. When the shit hits the fan, your 'principles' can crumble in the blink of an eye. Only the strongest, the very strongest can hold fast to the same principles they had as kids all their lives.

I had always been completely completely dead against smoking, drinking and drugs. People I love have died because of them, or are about to. Then, shockingly, for about 6 months of my life I was smoking weed about 3 times a week and getting piss drunk all the time. Because things in my personal got to such a point where I felt I'd try anything for a bit of masochistic release. Then I pretty much gave it all up, because things got better. The same goes for love and sex. Almost everyone in their first relationship wants to marry their boy/girlfriend and live happily ever after, but life is not a fairy tale. Just look around you 5 years later and see how many of the 'good girls' are still with their first boyfriend.

Joé B R said...
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Joé B R said...

whoa whoa whoa!, you're kindda echoing the same things i tried tto tell her but you've gone way over the top with it. she wanted to concentrate at the end on people taking to in due to peer pressure; which is often true for many people if not all, but you've gone and given her a tongue lashing which she only fractionaly deserves but not the same way you have launched yourself at her.

Elendil said...

Ok, I apologize for that. Rush of blood to the head. But. I understand that its peer pressure that she *intends* to attack, but the *tone* of the post is what got to me. The way its written makes people who don't stick to one partner all their life seem like Satan's little imps. I *assure* you, absolutely *ASSURE* you, that in less than 2 years, all you UG1s with *steady* boyfriends who you think you will *marry* are either going to dump you or you're going to dump them. Sorry to be horrible, but such is life. The sooner you wake up to it, the better.

Joé B R said...

well i do agree with that and have never believed otherwise.

Fishy! said...

@ Elendil: Firstly, I'm 19 and not 18.
And I apologise if my post has 'offended' you, obviously it wasn't meant to. I was merely voicing an opinion which I felt needed to be ventilated. Just as you say I do not have the right to judge others, you do not have the right to judge me. I chose the example of the girl just because I saw her right then, at that moment, and she had never struck me as the type to smoke. I know guys who don't smoke too, and if I had suddenly seen them with a cigarette in their hands, I would have thought pretty much the same thing. So realise that I'm not attacking or generalising girls in any way, I just took that girl as an example.
And to answer your question, smoking has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with sluttishness. But they are, in some way, connected to falling prey to peer pressure. Just as some people start smoking just so they are accepted by their peers, some people too, sleep around and are promiscuous to be accepted, and thought 'cool'.
If I'm conservative, that's my own prerogative. All of us are not the same. You and I are not the same. So don't expect me to agree with you. People are free to do what they want. I don't 'judge' them, as you say, but I condone the weakness of character that makes some people succumb to peer pressure.
Incidentally, I have the same thoughts about guys being promiscuous as girls being promiscuous. Promiscuity isn't wrong- people can change partners, whatever. Nothing to do with me. But when they do it indiscriminately, without cause, without love, without self-respect- that's what gets to me.
Don't call me repressed, because I'm not. Everyone has different opinions, different ideals, different ways of thinking. Just because you didn't believe in smoking and drugs, and started with them, doesn't mean I should agree and say that I was wrong. Because I'm not wrong here. And you have NO right to call me a 'Victorian moralist'.
I have lost people to drinking and smoking too. And I didn't start with any of it. Yet you did, for 'release'.
There's a lot of difference between us. I don't condone anyone's action, who am I to, after all? But I wish people would wake up and realise that smoking out of your own free will, and smoking because your friends are smoking, and you don't want to be left out- have a Hell and Heaven difference.
Don't presume to teach me about Life, and how it's complicated. I know a lot about it, perhaps much more than you think.

Joé B R said...

man!!!!that had me scared, and it wasn't even directed towards me.
boy can you be scary or what huh tuna!

Elendil said...

You're absolutely right of course. You have every right to believe what you want. My comments were even more opinionated than your original post. Apologies.

Fishy! said...

@ Elendil: Apology taken. No hard feelings!

shreya said...

@elendil-ya I sort of had to reply to your comments.Its sad how you have such a cynical view on life,I know I know life has a lot of shit to offer.But all that you said about girls with "steady" boyfriends getting dumped or dumping their partners,is utterly ridiculous in my opinion.Perhaps you tend to judge people by your actions in life?Or things that have happened to you?And please can we give up this tragic hero act that you seem to have taken up?Not everyone who has gone through a helluva crisis in their lives have taken to smoking or weed!I am speaking from personal experience,and the writer of the blog post is probably the best example to prove my point.And do you have any clue what peer pressure is like?It can tear you apart into two and merge all these blacks and whites everyone seems to be talking about.I'd much rather advice people to refrain from it than ask them to succumb to it all just because you woke up one fine morning and realized that life isnt a bed of roses.And perhaps if you take a less cynical view to everything going on for you, you'd be much happier(without the weed or smoke).Heh.

Indranil said...

Cool! Comment-fight!!

@brinda: I hope you won't mind me addressing more than 1 person on a comment on someone else's blog. If you mind, well, sorry! Chicken roll due. :)

@shreya: deep breath!

@elendil: bro! Brinda's a girl. She's obviously gonna be talking about girls. More so because she comes from a girls school. This has nothing to do with feminism. She just commented on good friends she personally knows.
As for girls getting dumped or dumping guys, I'm sure I can use the phrase, "to each his own". You'll probably dump your steady girlfriend till the day someone smashes your heart in. I, for one, am lucky to find true love. (No, I ain't 19). I'm sure other guys and girls will have varying mileage. Your mileage may vary, or YMMV, as they say.

And coming from a smoker, I know we've got every right to beat our own selves to death. But smoking doesn't do that, does it? It harms people who don't smoke. And it's damningly hard to let go of. So, well, when you smoke, you ain't acting cool or staying free-willed, you're knowingly damaging every person you love.

And now, I mosey along...

Elendil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elendil said...

@Shreya: Right you are. I'd just like to point out though, that my views are not *that* cynical. As I've said before, my comments were a rush of blood to the head. I believe in fairy tale love as much as anyone else.

And I would very much appreciate it, if people who don't know me refrained from making comments like this -

'You'll probably dump your steady girlfriend till the day someone smashes your heart in.'

This comment was has long gone beyond the blog-post itself.

Peace to all.

Indranil said...

@elendil: sorry for that, but I worded my comment wrongly. I never meant it as a personal stab at you. Rather, a general 'you' for vaguely someone out there.

And yes, I do believe we've gone out of the topic of the post.


Fishy! said...

I seem to have a very interesting blog! Ritimoto jhogra lege jaye! :P

@ Indranil: No of course I don't mind.. Feel free to comment away! :P

@ Everyone in general: Calm down! (Bit rich coming from ME, considering I was smoking at the years a couple of nights back at Elendil's original comment!)

But yeah, everyone is allowed an occasional 'rush of blood to the head', along with their own opinions..
So as Elendil says, "Peace to all."