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How To Deal With Peer Pressure

Here's how to handle the pressure without compromising your own values and self-respect.

Making friends with the It Girls, getting access to invite-only parties, and fitting in with the "in" crowd-who among us hasn't wished for all that? Admit it: we've all been guilty of wanting to be so like the friends we admire. That's why we copy how they dress, the way they walk and talk. Friends, after all, are truly a big influence, which is way cool if they bring out the very best in you.

Sadly, it's not like that all the time. So when opinions of others dominate your decision-making, that's your cue to ask yourself tough questions like "Is this what I really want? Will this make me happy?"

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Your two best girlfriends positively love Leighton Meester and agree that Michael Cera is the funniest. Maybe you even enjoy the same sports or extracurricular activities they do. But at some point, you'll want to try something new, something different from what your barkada likes to do during the weekend. "The teenage years are the time of personality development," says psychiatrist Myrna Q. Almeda. "It's a time of testing the values of the family outside, seeing whether these values are similar or different from the experience of their peers." Don't feel strange if you find people outside your regular group. "It's completely normal and part of the experimentation that comes with growing up," says Dr. Almeda.

Sometimes the choices you make will be difficult. What your friends find cool may be the exact opposite of what your family approves of. For a teenager, "peer pressure" are two words that spell the big difference between being branded major cool or big time nerd—but it's all part of the experience. You learn to make choices that will determine who you are and what you want to become. So don't panic! Here's how to deal with those pressure-cooking situations without losing your cool.

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Ms. Singled Out
Your Predicament:
"Most of my friends have boyfriends. I'm really not in a hurry to have one, but sometimes it feels like everybody expects me to get one too!"
Your Worst Fear: "I'll forever be the third wheel when I'm with other couples—and that's so pathetic!
Reality Check: "There will always be leaders in the age group who will be the first to try new things—whether it's experimenting with make up or getting interested in boys," says Dr. Almeda. "You shouldn't feel too pressured to have all these new experiences right away. Not everyone develops at the same time." So chill! There's nothing wrong with not having a steady guy yet!
What to do: Rule number one: Never rush into a relationship because everyone else is doing it. There's a right time for everyone, and until you meet that special guy, have fun! Your single status is actually a blessing in disguise: use your time wisely. Take a dance class, write for the school paper, take guitar lessons, and meet new people (yes, that includes boys!) Give everyone a chance to get to know the fun, smart talented girl you are. True, you may find your all-girl outings put on hold for now, but it shouldn't mean your friends will no longer be there for you (in fact, they'll probably need a good listener and you're oh-so-good advice) so stick around and be there for them!

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Fashion Victim
Your Predicament:
"My friends like to wear brand name clothes and put together trendy outfits. Sometimes it's hard because clothes like that are expensive."
Your Worst Fear:
"My friends will label me baduy and won't want to be seen with me."
Reality Check: While it is normal to look to your peers for ideas on how to dress, keep in mind there are no hard-and-fast rules. Laila, 17 doesn't go on shopping frenzy to dress like everyone else-unless she spots something she really likes. "I started buying fancy flip-flops because I saw other people wearing them. I really do like the way hey look, so I kept buying them," she says, pointing to her Havaianas. "Otherwise, I wouldn't bother. No matter what the trend is, if you don't feel good in it, I don't think it's worth it."
What to do: Can't afford designer labels? Don't let your cash flow limit your look. Invest in one big piece (a good pair of jeans that fits well will always be in style). Or play fashion detective and check out stores that offer similar styles at more pocket-friendly prices. What counts is feeling confident in the clothes you wear. Add your own personal flair to your outfits—and you'll see that what counts isn't trends or brand name clothing but personal style!

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Mariel de Jesus
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"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

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After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

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It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Why our high school barkada is the best?

Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.

Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:

1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.

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2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.

3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.

4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.

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5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.

6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.

7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.

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