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"Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be ___ at times."

Is there an precise adjective/phrase that means putting a lot of peer pressure on me that I can fill in the blank?

I was about to use "stressful," but I don't feel that it can transfer the exact meaning.

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    Can you clarify how you feel that 'stressful' changes the meaning? To me, it means exactly what you intended to mean. Commented Jun 11 at 14:05
  • I also like "puts peer pressure on me" since that's exactly what it does. Commented Jun 12 at 13:17
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    My first impulse was to say "stifling." Commented Jun 12 at 15:28
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    Choosing the right word will depend on some introspection about why having such friends stresses you out. Commented Jun 13 at 3:06
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    The answer to this SWR is simply NO. There is no word in English that means "precisely" putting a lot of peer pressure on me. Answered.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 13 at 12:18

13 Answers 13

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Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be _____ at times

Is there a precise adjective/phrase that means putting a lot of peer pressure on me that I can fill into the blank?

These adjectives are slightly more apt than "stressful", since they are with reference to the speaker's (subjective) perception or at least perspective:

  • daunting - seeming hard to deal with in prospect
  • formidable҂ - inspiring apprehension through being impressively capable.
  • exhausting - very tiring
  • burdensome - a difficult load to endure

Less succinct:

  • a lot to live up to
  • a heavy burden of expectations.

҂  NuclearHoagie:
I can't put my finger on why, but "formidable" sounds a little out of place, although it does perfectly capture the intimidation aspect. The sentence "Climbing a mountain is formidable" sounds odd to me, but "Climbing a mountain is a formidable task" much more natural.
  ryang:
Yes, I too had difficulty articulating why it sounds odd. I like how your example throws the issue into stark relief; perhaps the adjective 'formidable' doesn't like to directly modify gerund phrases?
  NuclearHoagie:
Not sure what makes the gerund sound strange. "The climb is formidable" also sounds fine to me, no worse than "It is a formidable climb".

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    I can't put my finger on why, but "formidable" sounds a little out of place to describe the act itself, although it does perfectly capture the intimidation aspect. The sentence "Climbing a mountain is formidable" sounds odd to me, but "Climbing a mountain is a formidable task" much more natural. Commented Jun 11 at 19:56
  • @NuclearHoagie sounds like "formidable" would be more naturally used with a noun following it, right?
    – Phoebe
    Commented Jun 12 at 3:50
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    @NuclearHoagie Yes, I too had difficulty articulating why it sounds odd. I like how your example throws the issue into stark relief; does the adjective 'formidable' not like to directly modify gerund phrases?
    – ryang
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:52
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    I would say that "a lot to live up to" is the best answer I've seen on this page so far.
    – MikeB
    Commented Jun 12 at 7:50
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    @Phoebe I'm not sure that's it, "The climb is formidable" also sounds fine to me, no worse than "It is a formidable climb". Not sure what makes the gerund sound strange. Commented Jun 12 at 16:18
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Intimidating may be a good option, as it expresses a small level of personal discomfort at having to "keep up" with such distinguished friends. It's like humbling, but whereas "humbling" could indicate that you're resigned to not be a true peer in the group, "intimidating" indicates that, although it won't be easy, you're putting in the effort.

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  • That was my first thought too.
    – afwings
    Commented Jun 13 at 22:43
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Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be demanding at times.

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  • This sounds to me like your talented friends are demanding something (time, attention, special treatment) from you, not that you are putting pressure on yourself to keep up with them. Commented Jun 13 at 8:13
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    @EspeciallyLime, OP says “peer pressure,” not “putting pressure on yourself.” Commented Jun 13 at 11:13
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Demanding and daunting are both good options, which have already been suggested by others. A further possibility is:

Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be taxing at times.

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    I was thinking "trying", which has the same connotation Commented Jun 11 at 19:53
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    I was thinking 'tiresome'. I guess this is the 'T' party?
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 11 at 21:55
  • Demanding suggests you have to do something (as in a job is demanding), but taxing suggests it takes a toll (it wears you out). Taxing has the right connotation of having an effect no matter what. Taxing seems the right word for the scenario.
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Jun 12 at 6:23
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Depends on how much pressure involved, but you might say it's overwhelming.

That's stronger than most of the terms offered it. It would apply if you thought you might crack under the pressure.

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Stressful seems fine, but you could consider also pressurising.

Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be [pressurising] at times.

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    I also took "pressurizing" into consideration, but I looked it up in Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries, it means "to strongly persuade someone to do something they do not want to do". So I don't really think it suits the context here.
    – Phoebe
    Commented Jun 11 at 5:55
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    Applying that dictionary definition to your example would mean this situation (of having friends who are talented) sometimes pressurises a person in that manner (including into doing things the person would rather not do). It is appropriate. Commented Jun 11 at 6:46
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    BTW, the AmE counterpart is "pressuring" (in the sense of strong persuasion) ; AmE reserves pressurizing for devices and such. "The bathysphere was pressurizing".
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 11 at 10:23
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    @SeowjoohengSingapore They might both technically be still used and understood by educated people, but in this context pressuring is also more common over here and more likely to be understood. Commented Jun 11 at 16:52
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    Google pressurise and you see on the very first page, sense 2. BRITISH attempt to persuade or coerce (someone) into doing something. "don't let anyone pressurize you into snap decisions". Try Cambridge, and you see: UK (US pressure) to strongly persuade someone to do something they do not want to do:( He was pressurized into signing the agreement. Commented Jun 13 at 13:17
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If it takes effort to lavish the well-deserved praise, then you may be exhausted and/or drained.

If their personality is demanding, then it may be frustrating and/or a colloquial P.I.T.A.

If you're wishing to be recognized for your own talents, then it may be humbling.

If their talents are prompting you to reflect on your own inadequacies, then it may be humbling.

If you're outwardly happy for this person and inwardly jealous and/or your feelings are a storm of unsettled emotions and you need a polite way to describe how you feel, then it may be politely said that it is humbling.

Finally, if their talents are causing you to doubt the amount of your own personal agency, then it is discouraging.

Related concepts: Limelight, the focus of public attention and common object of rivalry.

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1

Another option is challenging:

"Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be challenging at times."

While it doesn't precisely convey the meaning of "putting a lot of peer pressure on me", I think it's a good choice if you want the sentence to sound positive, unlike "daunting" and "intimidating".

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Disheartening

I like this one

causing someone to lose determination or confidence; discouraging or dispiriting. "seeing her talent was particularly disheartening because I doubt if I'll ever be as good"

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  • I would not use this. You're referring to your friends directly, so to say that having talented friends is disheartening is basically saying you wish you had friends that were crap at everything. It would make sense only if you qualified the statement with it being about their talents specifically and not feeling able to reach their level.
    – roganjosh
    Commented Jun 14 at 10:46
  • "only if you qualified the statement with it being about their talents specifically" - if you look at the example I gave that's exactly what the sentence does.
    – mikeb
    Commented Jun 14 at 18:36
  • I disagree. It's too clinical; "her" is not a friend in this.
    – roganjosh
    Commented Jun 14 at 19:03
  • There's a reason we have idioms like "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room". Successful people will generally bouy you but you might not match their talents in certain areas. They don't dishearten you.
    – roganjosh
    Commented Jun 14 at 19:09
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There are many answers that put negative connotations on this - "discouraging", "disheartening" etc. This is not the way I would communicate things.

First and foremost, I would be proud to have such as group of friends. This is not a negative; why are they talking to you? If they're so erudite, they see something in you.

I would just say "challenging" because it's a case of "keeping up with the Jones'" in real life. There is no need to put yourself down and there is no need to make it seem like you don't have your own qualities. Smart people recognise other smart people but you can specialise in different fields.

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I would go with:

Having friends who are talented is great, but it can also be a chore at times.

The existing answers suggest words like daunting or formidable which I would not really like to put in a sentence when talking about my friends.

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deflating

"to make somebody feel less confident, proud or excited"

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I don't know if there's an adjective that specifically describes peer pressure, but I think strenuous (literally: putting a lot of strain on someone) is most suitable here.

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    can be a strain on a person, but not strenuous
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 11 at 15:59
  • @Lambie the adjective would be strenuous then, no?
    – paddotk
    Commented Jun 12 at 8:42
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    strenuous for people is usually physically taxing, not mentally taxing. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 12 at 12:45
  • @Lambie Ah ok, gotcha
    – paddotk
    Commented Jun 14 at 7:51

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