If you think everything that’s happening to your finances right now is all your fault, think again. When you look closely, you might realize that there are external forces that are exerting pressure on you, pushing you to do something without your full consciousness about it.
Peer pressure is all around us. Peer pressure is the reason why some people tend to “keep up with the Joneses”, not knowing what exactly the Joneses do to be able to afford what they have. The Joneses could be the famous rich people we see on television, or the guy driving a Rolls Royce to fetch his kid from school.
The Joneses are now online
Nowadays, it’s not just the rich and famous who are the Joneses of our lives. Often, it’s now our closest friends, college roommates, and other people with whom we are connected online, that are becoming the Joneses of our lives. We tend to keep up with everybody for fear that we are being seen as someone who has been left out. This is especially common among Millennials, who are now starting to earn their own money and like to project an image of achievement, of having proven themselves to the world.
If one of your closes pals gets a new car, do you not imagine yourself also buying a new car? Do you not make quick calculations on your head whether you can afford it or not? If an officemate posts on Facebook a new photo or video or her touring Europe, do you not say to yourself: “I want go there too!”
Peer pressure is not always obvious
You see, the thing about peer pressure is that it does not have to be very obvious. When friends ask you to come with them to a dinner at a classy, newly-opened buffet restaurant for a catch-up, the pressure to come is obvious. However, nowadays when the Internet has become a platform to paint a perfect image of ourselves, the pressure it exerts among us is not so obvious.
By then, blowing all your money on the latest phones or going on an expensive vacation will seem like a personal goal that you have achieved, when in truth, it was a result of a peer pressure to be able to do the same. Most of us do not realize this. We only know that we spent so much and lost it all. “In any case, I can earn it back,” we would say. The problem is if we don’t realize that it’s just peer pressure pushing us to spend, we will only repeat the same mistake all over again.
What you need to do
In order to avoid falling prey all the pressures around you, you need to define your own goals and stick to your plan. A lot of people simply drift away, not knowing where they are going, that’s why they are easily carried away by the pressure to keep up with their peers.
Avoid comparing yourself all the time. Nowadays, people can simply choose what to show and what to hide, resulting in an image of life that is happy and perfect. If you ask them personally, some would say: that’s not true all the time. If you keep on comparing your real-life situation to their online situation, you’ll only drown yourself in envy and negative feelings about yourself.
Lastly, choose your peers carefully. Mingle with the ones that have the same mindset as you do. You will realize that there are people who don’t really care what others have…they know what they want and are bent at getting it, regardless if they don’t have what people of their status ought to have.