1. You are GREAT how you are!
Look around. Everyone has different skills and levels of success in school, athletics, creativity, charm, looks, grades, hobbies, etc. Make a list of all of the skills and talents that YOU have. Post it on your wall and on your mirror so you can see it and read it every day. Doing this reminds you of your self worth.. and everyone needs to do that as much as possible!

2. Life is a continual learning process
Believe it or not, whether you are in school, or working full time, the most productive people are constantly learning. Sometimes you focus on music, sometimes on languages, sometimes on your social skills, and sometimes knowing all of the music groups on MTV. Do your best to be open to things other than just what you HAVE to know or what’s COOL to know. For instance, if you are usually a sports fan, pick up a book on something cultural to do with plays or movies. If you are a music-aholic, then take some time to go white water rafting or canoeing. You’ll be more well balanced and get along with a greater amount of people.

3. Focus on looking at what is GREAT in others
When you are a teen, your life sometimes revolves around what others think! Some people can make it hard on us, and some people could care less. People like those people who show an interest in them. Start asking questions of the other kids in your class and in your school. Talk about what interests THEM. Even if you aren’t in their group, show an interest in what they are interested in or like to do. NEVER criticize, but acknowledge them for having talent and for having special interests. Even if you don’t “GET” it, you can say, “hey, that’s great”. It’ll make them feel good about THEMSELVES.

4. Learn to LAUGH and help others have fun!
Getting a kick out of others is a great way to be well received by others. If you find others humorous or funny, LAUGH. Look for things to compliment about others.. and have fun with people as much as possible. The teenage years aren’t easy and if you can focus on helping OTHERS to have fun, then you’ll be a step ahead. Be creative in your approach but don’t poke fun AT a person. There is a difference of laughing WITH the person and not AT them. Rule of thumb – if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say anything at all. People always like to talk about themselves.. so get people talking and laughing!

5. Become an expert in something!
What are you interested in? Do you have a passion for writing or for sewing? Do you get a charge out of designing clothes or by the latest makeup? Do you have an interest in the martial arts? How about motorcycles or horseback riding? Wherever YOUR interest lies, become an expert in it! If you don’t have any hobbies besides watching TV or movies, you are missing the boat. If those ARE your hobbies, then you might want to PLAY an instrument! If you are a competitive athlete or totally dedicated to one activity, try to integrate another hobby or interest into your life. It’s bound to open up new conversation and friends.

6. Hang with groups!
The stress of teenage relationships is a lot to bear. Do yourself and your parents a favor by spending time in groups and not alone with the person who is the object of your affection! Getting a group of friends together is not only a great time, but it assures that you have many friends to be close to. Finding a group is the difficult part but activities like church retreats, school clubs, athletic teams or a teen sponsored event can bring teens together. Be willing to make new friends in addition to the old. Go to places where students from other schools will attend and where you can meet them. Everyone feels uncomfortable at first so just understand that everyone is in the same place. Many fun times can come from finding a good group of friends.

7. Find some positive role models
Decide what type of person you want to be and write it down. There are many positive role models and it makes it easier if you have someone to look up to. If your role model lets you down in some way, which they probably will at some point, realize that everyone is human and no one is perfect. You can have different role models for different things. Find the qualities you like in them and work on developing them in yourself.

8. Know your boundaries
Teens can be absolutely terrific and some can be absolutely horrible. One day you have dozens of friends and the next day you are the social outcast. It happens to everyone at some point and what is important to know that it is a phase. Be willing to know what you will and will not put up with and let your friends know what is and is not OKAY behavior. If someone isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve, ask why. If they continue, tell them to stop. DON”T let bad behavior go on without saying something. If someone is bullying you, take a stand. If you don’t want your parents involved, go to a guidance counselor or to a teacher. If you see someone being bullied, have the guts to stand up for the person.

9. Be a joiner!
So many people just float from class to class without having a purpose. Joining clubs, athletic teams or going to events is a great way to see and be seen. The more you get out there, the more people you are going to meet. Then, when the inevitable happens, that your best friend moves, gets a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a new best friend, you’ll already have other friends you can hang with.

10. Your parents are not the enemy!
If you have parents who are strict, don’t let you do everything you want, make you have a curfew, are cautioning you about certain people you are hanging with, or are all around pain in the necks, BE GLAD. Believe it or not, they aren’t as dumb as you might expect, and they were once in your shoes. They probably want to raise you to have respect for yourself and for others, and they are probably working hard to provide a good living for you. Your parents aren’t perfect, NO ONE is, but they are doing the best job they know how. Don’t forget to ask THEM how THEY are, and sympathize with them when they have a bad day, or congratulate them for successes in their lives and careers. And, I can tell you that their friends are people too! You’ll find that adults can be great friends the older you get so don’t be intimidated by their age. You can be popular and well liked with the adults too!