What To Do If Your Friends Pressure You Into Being Different Than Who You Are

Dear Heather,

My friends are trying to peer pressure me into doing things I don’t want to do. For example, they think I should “get a life,” which means they want me to start dating. I’m asexual and physically don’t feel attraction to others. They also think I should wear a bra – I’m a 14-year-old with a flat chest who has not started puberty at all, so I really don’t think so. All of my friends are done with puberty and I feel abnormal. At the same time, I really don’t want to grow up. I love being a kid. My friends all have their “dream boyfriends” and tell me I should stop caring so much in school. But I know that in high school, grades and school matter a lot. I want to go to Oxford, and I must work hard.

I’ve tried explaining to my friends that I’m an agender feminist who doesn’t believe in silly social norms, but they don’t understand it. How do I explain it to them? I don’t identify as female so I don’t feel like I need to follow the social norms for females, but they think it’s the only way I can be accepted. Please help me explain it to them so they understand. Do I really need to listen to them and “go on a date” and wear a bra when I’m still flat chested???? How can I not be left out because of my different interests? Please give me some tips. Thanks so much!

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Let me start this off by saying that, honestly, your friends sound like jerks. Real friends wouldn’t make you feel bad about acting like who you are, and they wouldn’t be peer pressuring you to be different when you clearly don’t want to be. I could sit here and give you some advice on how to get them to listen, but the truth is, I don’t know if it will work. It probably won’t, to be honest! They don’t understand what you’re going through, and they clearly don’t want to. I could give you advice, you could try it, and then you could find that it doesn’t work – or we can do something different.

Like what? Like, uh, hanging out with better people. You deserve friends who want you to be you, not friends who push you to do things you’re uncomfortable with. You don’t have to wear a bra if you don’t want to, regardless of cup size. You don’t have to be interested in dating. You definitely shouldn’t stop trying to get good grades. And, really, you don’t need to explain this to anyone. Your friends are giving you bad advice, dragging you down, and making things harder for you. None of that sounds like a friend – it sounds like an enemy.

You can try one last ditch effort by talking to them in a serious way and letting them know they’re really hurting your feelings. Tell them you don’t plan on changing any time soon, and you really want their support and love, but if they can’t give it to you, you don’t want to speak with them anymore. It sounds dramatic, but people like that are toxic, and will only bring negativity to your life – sometimes, the drama is needed.

In the meantime? Focus on you! You sound like you’ve got a pretty good handle on who you are, and you seem driven and focused. So, focus on school and yourself and do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. Find others who accept you for who you are. Will a new group of besties be waiting around the corner? Of course not, but eventually, you’ll find someone who gets it. Never change yourself for other people. Good luck!

Good luck!
Heather

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com 

 

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