Resistance Skills: Saying No to Peer Pressure

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Many teens lack resistance skills and techniques to help them resist drug use and other risky or negative behaviors. While learning to say “No” is important, it is more effective when combined with other refusal techniques.



Acknowledging the other person’s point of view before saying it’s not for me.


  • “I realize why you’re interested in ___, but I am just not interested in doing that.”
  • “I know you’re stressed right now and want to blow off steam, but this just isn’t how I like to relax.”



Put the other teen in your shoes and help them see why you’d prefer to take a pass.


  • “That stuff would make me lose control – and you

know I’m a control freak, I wouldn’t like it at all.”

  • “My mom knows everything. It’s like she’s psychic. I can’t risk getting caught.”



To keep the situation peaceful, teens may avoid aggression and instead be calm or use humor (e.g., make a joke to diffuse or back away from a situation).


  • “Yo, your momma called and she said, ‘Busted!’Just kidding, but seriously, my momma would freak on me if I did that.”
  • “Listen, I respect that it’s your body and you can do what you like to it, but I’d rather not do that to mine and I hope you can respect that too.”



Teens may put a better option on the table for themselves and/or their friends.


  • “Nah, I’d rather go shoot hoops. Want to come?”
  • “Thanks, but i was planning to hit the mall before it closes. I’d love for you to come with; my mom can drop us off.”



Teens should always feel that it’s OK to get out of dodge: When all else fails, they should try to keep their cool and find a way to physically get out of the situation.


  • “Thanks for the invite, but I have plans to meet up with my cousin in 20 minutes and need to get home.”
  • “Honestly, I’m not feeling it. But, I’ll be at the arcade playing games if you decide you want to do something else.”



Teens can find strength in numbers and use examples of how and why others aren’t going down that path.


  • “I know you think everyone’s doing it, but I have a lot of friends who don’t.”
  • “My basketball team made an agreement with each other to stay away from ___. It’ll affect our performance on the court and kill our shot at the state title.”



Teens can lay out for themselves and their friends what could happen because of taking the risk (emphasizing the short term

and then long-term consequences).


  • “Dad would lose it if he found out we had a party, and

then kill us when he found out people were drinking.”

• “If you went back to his place, it could send a signal that you want to fool around and he might expect stuff.”