How Peers Affect Another Person's Self-Confidence

Toxic friends can greatly damage your self-concept.
... Patrick Ryan/Photodisc/Getty Images

Peers can influence the type of person that you become and how you feel about yourself. It is important to choose peers that will help you become the person that you want to be. Being aware of the effect others can have on your self-confidence is the first step in taking control of your life and developing healthy self-esteem.

1 Negative Effects

When you are excluded from or bullied by peers, your self-esteem can be greatly affected. You can develop feelings of inferiority, resentment, depression, anxiety and may even wish to withdraw from society. In the study "Adolescent Peer Relations, Friendships, and Romantic Relationships: Do They Predict Social Anxiety and Depression?" published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, researchers found that adolescents victimized by peers developed high levels of social anxiety. If a person is unable to socialize with others, they will have a hard time establishing meaningful relationships and functioning in the work environment.

2 Protective Factor

Having a good relationship with peers and meaningful friendships can help protect a person from difficult life events. A significant loss, the daily challenges of transitioning into adolescence or adulthood, the breakup of a relationship and financial stress can be made easier with the support of friends. Peer relationships have even been shown to protect individuals from the negative effects of not having a close relationship with parents. A study published in the Journal of Youth Adolescence found that although adolescents with low parental closeness experienced lower levels of self-esteem, high levels of peer acceptance raised their self-esteem levels.

3 Peer Pressure

Peers can have a great influence on the way that you behave. If you are surrounded by positive people, you will have more opportunities to do healthy activities, make good decisions and see the bright side of things. On the other hand, toxic friends can be a bad influence by putting pressure on you to do things that are destructive or unhealthy. Their constant criticism and negativity can lead you to doubt yourself and lower your self-esteem.

4 Body Image

The way you feel about your body and your physical appearance can have an effect on your self-esteem. If you are surrounded by peers that make you feel self-conscious or unattractive, your self-confidence is likely to suffer. If being thin and fit is important, surround yourself by peers that have healthy lifestyles and enjoy working out. Your friends' behaviors are contagious and can easily influence the activities you participate in.

Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.