Originally created 02/06/01

Confidence can boost a teen-ager's morale



THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM: I feel terrible about how I look. I can have high self-esteem at times, but when I hear my friends talk about three or four boys who are interested in them I want to cry. When I'm out with them, the boys I think are looking at me walk up to them. What should I do? - 14-year-old Hephzibah girl

Here's what you had to say:

- I know exactly how you feel because it's sort of the same thing for me whenever I hear my friends talk about the boys they like. But it turns out the boy is really ugly inside. If they can't see you for what you really are inside, then they're ugly themselves.

- Don't worry about what other people think about you. Worry about yourself. Do something to make you feel better about yourself, like primp yourself up, wear makeup, get your hair done, get your nails done. I'm not trying to say that'll attract a boy. But maybe in a couple of months someone will talk to you. Don't worry about the other boys that go to your friends because soon all your friends will be jealous of you.

- I'm from Hephzibah, too, and sometimes I feel that way. But I think what you should do is feel happy about how you look. ... There are plenty of fish in the sea that want you but don't want those other girls - because they're not all that, anyway. You can think of yourself as pretty and keep your head up and walk straight. Do not worry about what other people say, and don't worry about how people think and accept you. You just worry about you and nobody else and about how they look. It's not really good to do that.

- Just because boys aren't talking to you or don't talk to you as much as they talk to your friends doesn't mean you're unattractive. Just wait for the right person to come along. Believe me, it'll be worth the wait. You're young.

- You're only 14 and you're still young, but when you get older guys will come around eventually. You just don't need to worry about it because you'll get more guys in the long run than your friends have right now.

- All I've got to say is I feel the same way as you, but one day, the guys, they'll come around for us.

- Test your luck with boys: The next time you're out with friends, walk up to a boy and see how he takes to you, not just how you take to him.

- Let the boys come to you. You don't go to the boys. That is one major thing you must not do. Let them come to you. You seem desperate. Don't be desperate to them. Just let them come to you. That's all I'm trying to say.

Xtreme reporter Alisa DeMao says:

Low self-esteem is a vicious cycle. When you feel bad about yourself, it can make you nervous and uncomfortable around other people, which makes them uncomfortable with you. Then you feel even more awkward than before. People who are "attractive" to others aren't attractive because of the way they look, but because they believe in themselves. It's that confidence and the expectation - of course people will like me! Why wouldn't they? - that attracts others.

Try to regain your confidence in yourself and hold on to your self-esteem when you're around your friends. Think about what makes you special. Do things for yourself to make you feel good because if you feel good about yourself others will be drawn to you.

And remember: Quality is always more important than quantity. It doesn't matter if your friends have 10 guys coming up to them. It's going to mean more if you find one or two boys who are really interested in you, not just how you look. Keep in mind that at 14 some of the boys haven't realized that yet, either. You might have to give them a little time to figure it out.

NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM:

My boyfriend lives on Fort Gordon, and this year or his senior year his family is planning to move to Texas. By then, he'd be 19 and able to support himself and live alone. I love him, and I don't want him to leave. I have strong feelings for him, and we feel that we're ready to bring a child into this world. If I do get pregnant, there is no way he could leave me, and I won't be losing someone I love. What should I do?

Do you have any advice for this 15-year-old Augusta girl? Call the Advice Line at 442-4444 and press 8614. You'll have one minute to answer.

Got a problem? Call 442-4444 and press 8613. You'll have one minute to give us your situation. Please state your age and the town you live in.

You also can e-mail your problems to ademao@augustachronicle.com. Put "Advice Line" in the subject line. All e-mail addresses will be kept confidential. Questions may be condensed for space.

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