Peer pressure

I’ve been hearing phrases lately that I last recall hearing as a teenager.

“Everyone is doing it.”

“No one will find out.”

“It won’t hurt anything.”

These kinds of arguments were usually reserved for PSAs with stilted acting warning thirteen -year-old me not to do drugs. But now I’m hearing them from family, coworkers, neighbours, friends, and even from my own teenagers.

The context? Justifying bending the rules about COVID regulations, just a little. But a little further, a little more often.

I really, really don’t want to get into the political side of this. Or the scientific, for that matter. That’s not what this post is about.

I am a regulation follower. And I’m feeling bullied into not being one.

And I know there’s regulation avoiders feeling bullied, with those same ‘everybody’s doing it’ arguments, to fall into line.

So, my question is, when did we decide that the tactics stereotypically used by a bunch of shifty-eyed ne’er-do-wells would be the tool to convince someone who thinks differently to agree with us?

If anything, that kind of pressure tends to make me dig in my proverbial heels.

I hope each of us is unplugging from our own familiar narratives long enough to listen to other perspectives, to gather new information, to reassess our biases. I really hope we are using our agency to consciously choose, independent of the expectations of others, what our minds and hearts tell us is right.

But more than anything, I hope we always fight to see someone who sees things a little differently as a whole person, an individual who needs our love and compassion more than we need their compliance.

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