Last updated on September 22, 2020
I’m 16 right now and I’m having a couple of problems. When I was in the ninth grade and prior to that I was sort of kind of a “bad” kid. I did bad things — I sinned, I cursed, and anything a person my age would do, well, except have sex, smoke, steal and stuff. I did very badly during my first year of high school, and I requested a school transfer. I went to another school and did kind of better, but it was a long way there, so I got another transfer.
After that transfer, knowing that I cannot mess up anymore and had to stay until college, I changed. I quit hanging out with my friends, doing really dumb stuff, and tried to settle down. My grades definitely went up and I feel like I’m in the perfect school. So now here I am in the 11th grade.
I constantly look at my peers every day and sometimes wish to be like them. I wish to be cool, to hang out with them, and to just have friends and be known. But I can’t. I made a decision and I can’t go back to my old self. I’m as quiet as a rock. I rarely talk to people. When I first started talking after I came into this new school, it was to less than ten people. I have a hard time communicating. All I do is talk inside my head. I judge people, I think, and that’s all I do. My shyness and communication skills have messed up so many opportunities. I try hard to talk and try hard to be liked, but no matter what, I just reach the point in a conversation where I’m just like “yea so…..” There were so many girls that I liked and messed it up. So many cool people I try to be friends with and joke around with but I fail.
I sometimes am thankful for this because it makes me feel grown. I’m 16, I have a job (my third job). I feel as if I’m already old and my life is older. I feel as if I matured too fast. In my gym class doing gym I hardly ever play with the other kids. For example today I changed to my gym clothes for once, and I couldn’t play. I didn’t know how to play basketball! I was so embarrassed that I left and went and sat on the sideline bleachers. I haven’t played in so long that I didn’t know what to do. It’s like I was too old for the sport. It’s really embarrassing when that’s what everyone else is doing and you cannot do it.
I have also been slacking off from church since I got this job. Since February I haven’t gone to church. I feel so bad sometimes. Also the way others see me also makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m 16, younger than almost all of the kids in my grade, I have a job, and I’m driving. I change out of my school uniform, just so I could reach to work on time. I’m a black kid who drinks Monster (for some reason I guess black kids don’t drink monster), yea, that’s what some kid told me. Everyone thinks I act white, since I made that “change” everything has gone bad. Sometimes when I act cool, and I guess when I had first come to the school, I know some people were wondering and still probably are wondering why I’m hanging out with this lame kid (my friend). So everyone now thinks I’m lame. I don’t really care about that because he’s my friend, but at the end of the day, it still bothers me.
Then recently last week this girl whom I liked came up to me and asked me why I’m so quiet? I knew her and was cool with her. She sat down next to me and asked me and it took me a moment before I mumbled something. I said “I was sick” I technically was sick but that wasn’t the real reason. The real reason is I cannot communicate and have people problems! I’m antisocial! And I don’t know what to do. I feel lonely all the time, picturing myself in other people’s shoes, mostly wishing I could talk and act like them and sometimes wishing I had their girlfriends or wishing I had a girlfriend.
I started working because, yes, I do need the money, but my main reason is so I could purchase a motorcycle. Whenever people ask me why I work and I tell them to get a motorcycle, they look and me in a weird way. As if to say you’re like 12, you should be wanting to buy brand name clothes and stuff. I feel different from all the other kids. I’m a weird kid. And I just don’t know what to do anymore.
One of the problems society has is in dealing with people who are different. It is especially apparent in the high schools where kids want to fit in so badly with everyone else that they will change their habits just to be accepted. In part, it is due to all the changes going on in the body that people cling to some sort of stability — even if it is manufactured stability. Anyone who deviates from whatever is the currently accepted norm is labeled and teased. It’s nothing new. It has been going on for thousands of years.
If you don’t know how to play a game, then learn the rules. I won’t suggest asking one of your peers because that will just make you a target, but surely there is an adult around who would be willing to spend a few evenings with you to show you the basics. Or at worse, get a book or watch a video on the basics of the game.
For your communication skills, it is actually common in teenage boys, but you brought some of the difficulties upon yourself. You feared getting drawn into the wrong crowd so much that you took on isolation to avoid the temptation. In other words, you went from one extreme to another. Unfortunately, you are letting it spread. You are shutting out involvement with other people — including no longer going to church. None of this is good for you or your future. So, like the games, the key is to learn. I would like you to join the drama club at school, or this summer join a community play. Not only will you get some social interaction, but you’ll learn how to interact regardless of your personal feelings at the moment.
In talking with girls, the best thing you can do is work on your listening skills. Ask a sincere question and then listen to the answer, perhaps making a few comments to let her know you are listening, that you understand and that you are interested.