I'm an 18-year-old female looking for a friend. Do you know the saying, "Go hang out with your girlfriends"? Well, I don't have any - and no guy friends.
I really want a friend so I can talk about personal things. But whenever I talk to someone, I end up saying something personal and that person gets uncomfortable.
I used to work at a store and I talked to a guy about my period, and he said that was too much information. So, how do I make real friends and how do I know when I get too personal?
- Lonely 18-year-old
Contrary to common belief, the art of being popular isn't a select gift. Every social butterfly emerges from a distinct cocoon of her own making. However, the good news is that you can pinpoint common traits among these awe-inspiring creatures.
Think confidence. Think relaxed body language. Think varied interests. Think of acquiring a genuine interest in people.
So do you have the goods to mingle to your heart's delight? Yes, of course! But I'm not going to sugarcoat the truth. Read: Unlocking the friendship fort will take work.
Before you can embark on your adventure to acquire new buds, you first have to work on appreciating your merits, and only then can you work on your networking skills.
Your first course of action should be to ask close figures in your life (even if they're only family members and teachers at this point) what qualities they appreciate most about you. Subsequently, ask them what characteristics you need to work on. Once you have a tally of responses, take an inventory objectively.
Begin by noting if there are any similarities. Go on to evaluate differences. After careful appraisal, make a conscious effort to polish your plus points. Likewise, make it your mission to improve weaknesses.
With all these mindful changes, it may take awhile for you to feel comfortable in your own skin. Give yourself permission to migrate to social grounds slowly. Exchange short pleasantries with neighboring locker mates. Greet more guys and gals in your last-period math class. Make your mark in public by participating in homeroom discussions.
Your next step should be to fine-tune your talents and use them to meet people on the same wavelength. Your best bet is to join extracurricular clubs or hobby groups. The mutually satisfying settings afforded by these gatherings will help take the limelight off you. Concentrate on the activity at hand, and ask your peers polite, non-probing questions. It would be wise to leave touchy topics such as politics or religion out of the chitchat equation. Remember to listen actively, and reveal interesting tidbits about your life.
Hopefully, your new upbeat attitude will lead you to build an army of friends. When it comes to revealing personal information, think before you leap. Assess past conversations with the person in question to determine the comfort level of your relationship. Your objective shouldn't be to overwhelm someone, but rather communicate effectively. This, in turn, may mean that you'll broach different subjects with different folks. And that's perfectly A-OK.
Best of luck,
Why do all the jocks in high school think anyone interested in the arts is gay? I'm involved with the drama club and I enjoy poetry and music, and I'm not gay.
But I get comments from jocks, who tell anyone within hearing distance that I am. Some of my friends are on the receiving end, too.
It's not at the point where I would consider it harassment, just a comment every now and then, always with someone else listening. I hear the stories about there being dumb jocks in every high school. Do you think that's true, or am I just as guilty of stereotyping? I mean, what's with these clowns? They really can't be that stupid.
- Arts Lover
Dear Arts Lover,
What a coincidence, dude! I also like poetry and music, and I'm not gay, either. Guess what? Most of my friends like the same thing, and they're straight. But there are people who don't like poetry, which is fine by me and fine by them.
You're on the receiving end of this jock-ular harassment because the guys bugging you are idiotic. That doesn't mean all athletes are ignorant and rude, just these people. While it's easy to categorize others into "Dumb Jock" or "Poetry Nerd," it's best to look at individuals as well-rounded human beings.
I know you're under stress now from the insults, but I'd recommend you ignore all that ugliness. Let it bounce off your chest like a bullet off Superman, and realize that there are more important things to worry about than what some kids in school think of your hobbies. They want to nag at you, but don't let them.