People standing for anthemWe probably don’t realize how much our behaviour is affected by peer pressure. But it is important to understand this, because peer pressure is a powerful tool we can use to help change the behaviour of others.

5 Things You Likely Do as a Result of Peer Pressure

Standing For the National Anthem:

When you attend sporting events, you most likely remove your hat and stand for the national anthem just as everyone else does. But do you get off the couch and stand up for the national anthem when you watch a game at home? Most people do not. Standing for the national anthem in public is more of a display of conformity than a show of patriotism. When no-one is looking, there is no pressure to do the same as the people around you.

Drinking Beer From A Bottle Vs. Drinking From A Glass:

When in a bar or restaurant, you may feel a need to conform with the expectations of others around you. That’s why you are likely to drink beer from a glass. Yet at home, or say at a friend’s backyard BBQ, you are more likely to drink straight from the bottle or can. There is less pressure to behave in a particular way.

Finger Foods:

Many people like to eat certain food with their fingers, such as french fries, ribs, and chicken wings. At home and even in some food outlets that is fine. In others it is not. It is all up to the external expectations you feel.

Dressing Up or Dressing Down:

When you go out for dinner or certain events, there is often an informal dress code (https://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Dress_code) that applies. Jeans and t-shirts are ok at some places, while a jacket and tie or a dress are expected in others (and don’t show up either over- or under-dressed. Some places even tell you what the dress code is to help you prepare. Unlike at home, you are expected to dress like the people around you. (The marketers at Nike, Under Armour and Tommy Hilfiger also have their own way of exploiting the pressure to dress in a certain way).

Don’t Step on The Line:

If you are a golfer like I am, you know that it is a cardinal sin to step on someone’s line (the imaginary line from where a player’s ball lies on the green to the hole). At one time this was important, because the metal spikes could leave bumps on the green that would affect the player’s putt. However it has been more than 20 years since metal spikes have been banned, and the soft soles of current shoes don’t cause any damage. Still, stepping on someone’s line is considered a serious breach of etiquette, and golfers studiously avoid doing so.

Use the power of Peer Pressure

Behaviour change practitioners tap the power of peer pressure to nudge people into new, preferred behaviours. Think of all of those blue bins and blue bags at the curb on waste collection day. Would you want to be known as the neighbour who doesn’t recycle?

Peer pressure, or the establishment of social norms (https://psychcentral NULL.com/encyclopedia/social-norms/), are an integral part of any behaviour change program. Make sure it is part of yours.