Many people felt that high school was a difficult time in their social lives: finding their identity, friends separating into the different cliques, and just trying to fit in wherever they could. Some people are bullies while others got picked on. Some excelled in the classroom while others excelled in sports. Some people just were never even noticed. The social pressures to conform in one way or another were tremendous. But that’s not where peer pressure ends: adult life isn’t much different. As adults, we may not face the same social pressures as when we were teens, but they are still there: reduce your ecological footprint, be frugal, spend more, contribute to charity, support this candidate, etc. The key now is the same as it was back in high school: find your own identity.
Everyone has friends and even family members that own different viewpoint. Some may make you feel inadequate because of the car you drive or the amount of jewelry you own. Others may make you feel self-conscious because they never go out and save every penny while you spend on things that bring you joy, while others may do a lot of charity work or donate money on a regular basis. See, same as when we were all teens: different friends with different attitudes all wanting you to conform with the “group” and fit in. S ome people, like me, have multiple sides and are able to fit into several categories.
My whole life, I have had various interests, and various influences. I was smart in school, so I shared classes and was friendly with the “geeks”. I was athletic so I participated in sports and hung out with “jocks”. I liked to party and have fun, so was able to connect with the “cool kids” as well as the “slackers” depending on what was going on. Some people thought I was fake or trying to hard; that was their problem. Even today, I am the same way. I care about my future so I save a good deal of my earnings, but at the same time I work hard for my money so I like to spend it on things that bring me pleasure. Some of my more wealthy friends ask me how come I drive a fairly basic Honda Accord when I can surely afford a more luxurious automobile. My response is quite simple: I don’t care much for cars as anything more than a utility to get me around and don’t need a car to represent my “status” and would rather spend my money on thing that are more important to me. There are times when my frugal friends ask me why I go out to more expensive restaurants than Applebees or Fridays and order alcoholic beverages. My response, again, was simple: Food is a passion of mine so I enjoy it, it fits into my budget, and I’ve actually got clients from some of the people I have met there. Even now, some people I associate with cannot understand how I can merge differing financial viewpoints into a singular way of living, but that is just my identity.
You should never let anyone dictate how you live your life. If you are not comfortable throwing money around like it grows on trees, then don’t. On the other hand, if you want to spend the money that you worked hard for then by all means do it. The most important thing is that you are true to yourself, and not to do what others think you should. Some people just follow the crowd out of fear of being different. Others do what they feel like regardless of what others do or say. It is important to always be true to yourself and your beliefs, even when it comes to financial matters. Not all people will agree with everything you do, but as long as your choices agree with your views and personal situation, then it should not matter what others think or say. Do what is best for you.
What do you say–have you been faced with adult peer pressures? Have you ever given in to fit in with a certain group of people or do you just do your own thing and ignore what others have to say about it?