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I reread Duff's article about How to Deal Effectively With Peer Pressure and the JADE heuristic, and it's a great tool for avoiding needless conflict when others are trying to use peer pressure on you.

JADE is for what you're trying to avoid:
  1. Justifying

  2. Arguing

  3. Defending

  4. Explaining

It is a good heuristic. There are other times and places it might be worth having a deeper conversation, especially if this is going to be a long-term, recurring thing. There are some cases where it might be better to justify, defend, or explain--e.g. in a situation with legal consequences. (Talk to your attorney.)

Duff gives some caveats about these principles being used to defend harmful behaviors. A lot of stuff can be twisted around.

How should you respond to peer pressure? When someone tries to get you to do something you don't want to do:

  • Have a handy catch phrase that affirms your position (Duff uses the example, "I choose what goes in my body")

  • Say NO kindly and politely the first 3 times

  • The 4th time, make it clear that you would like them to respect your decision.

  • Practice saying NO before it happens

The strategy is from Andrew T. Austin.

This also applies to when you've done something wrong. When you've done something wrong:

  • Genuinely empathize and apologize for harm

  • Only if you are absolutely sure you will follow through state you will do differently; don't deepen the problem through broken promises (otherwise this procedure will become recursive)

  • Until you are sure you can keep your word, make the changes in secret

All of this is pretty helpful for me. I've had trouble dealing with peer pressure in the past; my usual response is to feel ashamed for saying no. I'm embarrassed at coming across as stubborn when people just want me to have fun. So I avoid situations where there might be peer pressure. That is a lot of situations. When I do myself into social situations I have in the past expressed this embarrassment and frustration as anger.

The concrete technique of saying no kindly and politely three times before asking people to respect other people's decisions is very helpful.

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