How far would you go to be part of the ˆin˜ crowd? Word Count:
The misconceptions of popularity and how teenagers get social anxieties caused by being part of the ˆin˜ crowd
Keywords: social anxiety
For most people, being a teenager is perhaps the most exciting stage in life. But being a teenager is full of ups and downs. A teenage girl is mostly bombarded by images of how Hollywood defines ˆbeauty.˜ Billboard and magazine advertisements, t.v. and radio commercials, and even the Internet is saturated with images and messages of what is ˆin˜ and what is ˆhot.˜ These media-driven images and messages play a major role in shaping the identity of young people.
For this reason, social and relationship issues often take center stage in a typical teenager’s life. The need for a sense of belongingness drives many teenagers to remake themselves according to the standards set by media and their peer groups. To be accepted by one’s peers is a normal teenager goal that can even sometimes overshadow the need to have a good academic performance. Many also take it to a higher level and aspire for a certain degree of popularity. For teenage boys, being part of the varsity team or having the most beautiful girl in school as a girlfriend is a ticket to popularity. For teenage girls, being the girlfriend of the high school hunk or being part of the cheer leading team is the passport to enter the world of the ˆin˜ crowd. But how do teenagers make sure they become well-known and well-liked in school? What does it take to be popular? Here are some of the common ways to be a ˆteenage star˜:
1. Be the next Paris Hilton ˘ This is done by always being the first one to sport the latest fashion trend. 2. Get a fabulous hairstyle.
3. Get involved - Meet new people and mingle with popular teenagers. 4. Refine your body language and become more sophisticated.
5. Seek opportunities to socialize.
But for sure, popularity is not everything. Some teenagers who take the task of becoming popular to the extreme tend to have psychological and emotional problems. When they feel rejected or unpopular, these young people often resort to anti-social behavior. Saddled with social anxiety, they no longer take the effort to meet and relate with other people. They let their insecurities and lack of self-esteem limit the scope of their social reach and influence. But living the teenage years need not be such a hard struggle for acceptance and friendship. Here are a few tips on how to blend ˆin˜ without losing your identity:
l Just hang out with the people that love you for who you are. It will make your life so much easier.
l If someone calls you a ˆnerd... geek....or weirdo˜ --- just shrug or laugh it off. You know who you really are and as long as you are comfortable with that and you are not hurting anyone --- you’ll be just fine. l Smile and the world smiles at you. Let your smile show˙braces or crooked teeth and all!
l Be discriminate about invitations. Accept only invitations to activities or events that can benefit you. It’s good to turn down an invitation every now and then. l Be outgoing. Stay friendly. Being too shy won’t help you gain friends or develop meaningful relationships.
l Stick to your values. Remember what your parents taught you about courtesy and doing good in school. Getting good grades is more important than being popular.
l Don’t be a show-off. Don’t drink or do drugs just to be show how˜cool˜ you are. Drinking and being addicted to drugs will mess your young life. Do not let peer pressure get to you. l Don’t let emotions rule your head. If someone snobs you, let it be and let it go. Remember that respect breeds respect.
l Don’t make fun of other people.
l Take care of yourself. Observe proper hygiene. Take pride in your appearance. Be comfortable in your own skin. Being a happy teenager starts by accepting whatever imperfections you have. Project a confident image. Create your own style.
If you are having a tough time fitting in at school, remember that others feel the same way and you are not alone in your predicament. The first step forward is to realize that you should not over-emphasize on external things. It is important to find the right balance in your relationships, activities, and in life, in general. Schoolwork should take precedence over the desire to become popular. Remember that what’s inside is what really matters.
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