Dear Dish-It Advice on Why It’s Okay to be Different
Naturally, it is not always easy to fit in or feel like you are like other people your own age. Well, it’s okay to be different. In fact, many people would say that what makes you different is what makes you beautiful and unique. Unfortunately, at these times of adolescence people may not look that deep (or beyond the surface), which can make it hard to survive the day-to-day of people. This week’s “Let's Talk About it Tuesday” discusses why it’s okay to be different, and addresses questions from kids and teens who are questioning their identity because they feel like they don’t fit in.
Let’s Take a Look at This Week’s Questions:
Question by Introvert?
People say I don't talk much (which I don't) and say that I'm peculiar and strange just because I like to read and stay indoors than to go outside and hang out with anybody. I'm like that girl who does her own thing in the back of the class. Am I an introvert and how do I become more social? I don't really like to be by people and I like to keep to myself. Is that normal? Is it strange?
Normal is whatever feels comfortable to you. If that’s who you are and that’s how you like to spend your time, there is nothing strange about it. Don’t question yourself and your personal longings. You are being true to yourself and that is an honorable and remarkable thing to do at this age. It’s not easy to go against the masses, but it makes you a brave individual. Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t let their opinions interfere with you being yourself. Focus on the people who get you and who bring you out of your shell—there will be people who you want to talk to, just give it time. The world wouldn’t function if everyone was an extrovert (so never consider yourself strange), plus they say the quietest people are usually the smartest. Don’t feel like just because you are quiet that you have to miss out on things that you like. Get involved where it suits you. Look into clubs and activities that compliment your hobbies and try to make friends with similar interests. The right people will come to love and respect the things that make you special so don’t feel like you need to change for anyone. As long as you are happy, that’s all that matters!
Question by NerdGirl
I'm a nerd and a dork and I'm not in the popular group in our class. I always help everyone with their work but sometimes I feel the popular girls just dislike me but they always copy my work and get 100% (which they really need). I'm wondering if the fact that one of my friends is a really annoying girl that no one likes has something to do with it. I'm rarely in a bad mood and I never take it out on anyone. I go along with the popular girls' jokes etc. but it doesn't help. I'm pretty happy as I am, and the popular girls seem to stress a lot about teachers, way more than I do. The popular girls have up to four guys liking them, and that's something I envy them about. No guys like me. Am I really missing that much? If so, what can I do about it?
Firstly, why are you letting them copy your work? Do they make you do this, or do you feel obligated? Does this keep them cool with you? It sounds like the popular girls are using you. Do you really think you are missing out on people who copy off of hard-working students? They may be the popular girls now, but you’ll get your day in the sun. There will come a time when guys like you, it just might not be right now. Don’t be envious. Be confident of what your future holds. It sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and could really go far academically. You can have your dream job and your dream man, just give it time. Remember that most if not all relationships at this age end because it is soon to meet the person you are going to be with forever. Focus on school because that you can control and perhaps let the popular girls knows that they can’t just copy of you (but you are happy to help them), because what you are doing is cheating, and one day you are bound to get caught. Are they really worth getting in trouble for? Look out for yourself and good things will come. You’re smart and intelligent, but you are not a geek or a nerd. Have value in yourself, don’t put yourself down, and don’t let others put you down. You get 100% at school, you’ve got a lot of positive going on, now it's time to use it to your advantage.
Question by Random Donut
Hi, I am an outcast everyone at my school has clicks you know the Nerds and Jock also popular, The hipsters and so on. I can’t fit in to save my life and I do not have friends anymore, they got accepted to the populars. Basically, I am alone I sit alone at lunch and my only friend is my mum. I tried joining clubs like I did drama. But no one liked me there. The last thing I tried was cheerleading and was awesome but they so no. The only people who talk to me is boys and its because they think I am cute. But I just want to be in a group or to have a friend that's a girl so I can actually go on my first sleepover and do girly things How do I become not an Outcast? Help please.
Sounds you're really lonely and tired of not being included. It also sounds like you tried a few things to resolve this issues and none of them worked. You mentioned your old friends who have turned popular now, would any of them stick their neck out for you? Have you tried talking to them? It’s not easy, but you need to fight through it. Things can change at any time. You have to remain hopeful and stay open towards opportunities to meet new people. The more you embrace yourself and who you are the less you will feel like an outcast. Like even when you didn’t get into Cheerleading, you still knew you were awesome, lead with this mentality and rise up above everyone else. Focus on what you think and not on how they made you feel. Reach out to people who you think you’d get along with and continue to take new chances. Drama club and Cheerleading may not have worked out, but something will. You will find where you belong, just keep looking and try to remember that you aren’t alone. Having good family support is a huge plus, and you’re lucky to have those supports in your life because a lot of people don’t.
Question by Future biologist
First, I feel I'm ugly. I have a big nose and facial hair :(. People make fun of me. Second, no one ever understands me. Even mum. Also people say I'm silly although I'm serious. I'm tired and I am feeling like an outcast and I Won't have any luck. I feel frustrated. People never appreciate my hobbies and talents. What shall I do?
I know it sounds hard to grasp at this age, but it really doesn’t matter what people think. It matters what you think. It’s hard because we all want to fit in. We all want to feel the validation from others, but we have to learn to give it ourselves. Anything we experience above that is extra, and that’s what you should consider lucky. The things you get on top of the things you give yourself/the things you already have. Don’t compare yourself to others, just because a certain girl gets more attention, it does not mean she is more attractive. Everyone has their time, but we never all get it at once. At this age, we are growing into our looks and our bodies and faces are constantly changing. Don’t give up on your beauty or put yourself down. No one is going to like what they see if you don’t. There is something to admire in every person, and the right people will see it in you. They will respect your hobbies. Even if they don’t want to peruse them, they will respect them. They will love you for you and nothing more or less. I know it seems like a fantasy world, but it can happen and is more likely to happen the moment you embrace yourself and your differences. People will be attracted to your individuality because it shows that you are staying true to yourself. Give it time and hang in there, and remember the only opinion that matters is your own.
It can be really hard to fit in at school, especially when it seems like there are these defined groups. Be patient. This will not always be. Once you are old enough, people don’t base things off of “popular” or “cool” or “nerd.” People see each other for who they are as people and love them for their personalities. It just takes time, and no it is not easy, but you’ve got to hang in there and see how it all unfolds. If you say that your mom is your only friend, it’s not the worst case scenario. You are not alone. You still have people supporting you. Focus on those supports, the ones you know you can trust and don’t worry about anything else. Those are the relationships that matter. We always want what we can’t have, but we fail to look at what we do have. Try to find things in life to be grateful about because there are lots of options.
If you feel like you are “different” that is okay, embrace this. Do the things that make you happy and try not to care what others think. Your school doesn’t define you, you define you. The less attention you pay to everyone else, and the more attention you place upon yourself, the happier you will be. Remember, your school might make it harder to be yourself with all these different groups, but the real world is an open oyster just waiting for your eccentricity!
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