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Managing Social and Family Pressure

Page history last edited by Holly Swyers 5 years, 6 months ago

What are some strategies for managing family and social pressures and judgment about personal decisions?



We are often most sensitive to pressure and judgment from others where we are uncertain or anxious about our own ideas and decisions. Take some time to recognize what is important to you. Think about whose opinions you value and why. Pay attention to how you fit into others' lives and how your actions might be affecting them.



Recognize the difference between feeling judged and actually being judged. Sometimes people are caught up in their own personal issues, and their reactions to you might have nothing to do with you at all. Don't let yourself misinterpret someone's bad day as evidence that they are upset with you personally, and don't let someone's decision to be less involved in your life be more important than the support of the people who are there for you.


On a similar note, sometimes family and friends seem judgmental because they are anxious on your behalf. Be willing to acknowledge their feelings and to ask them to be more trusting of your decision-making. Remember that you cannot control how other people feel, but you can control your reactions to them. 


Beware Social Media

It is easy to get swept up in how other people's lives look on social media and to feel inadequate compared to how people package their lives. Remember, though, that people are packaging their lives, often leaving out the hard or boring bits in order to show their best selves. Also know that people often forget that they are interacting with people on social media, so they can say things that are hurtful without entirely realizing that they are being hurtful. Avoid getting caught up in such drama.


Personal Honesty

As you grow more confident in yourself, you will feel more able to articulate what you stand for and why. Be up front with that information. Being clear about what you believe and what you care about, and being able to state that clearly to others, may not eliminate judgment. However, it does open space for people who disagree with you to respect your integrity.



Sometimes the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself and your mental health. A trained professional can help you manage your emotional responses to your sense of being judged and can help you fortify yourself against social pressure.



Often the pressure of pleasing family or friends or the perceived judgment of people we love or look up to can make us feel anxious or depressed. While therapy can often help, another strategy for handling sudden emotional states (anger, frustration, anxiety) is to practice meditation. Pausing in the middle of an emotional storm to quiet your mind can increase your resilience and ability to deal with social and family pressures.


Cutting Ties

While it might be a source of regret, sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to cut ties with a person who undermines you or makes you feel perpetually judged.


Growing Older

One of the best defenses against social pressures and judgment is getting older. As we age, we tend to become more self-aware and more able to articulate our values. Age is also a good defense against fear of missing out (FOMO), in large part because you'll know if you actually like the activity that used to make you be afraid of missing out. It is easier to feel confident in your choices when you have had more time in life to try different things and be certain of what you like or don't like.


This page was developed from interviews with:

Kyle Farrell, Karl Salinger, Gustav Lowry, Earl Roth, Colin Lowry, Fred Caldwell, Felix Golding, Igor O'Hara, Marco Cain II, Vicky Lewis

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