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Tired of Feeling Inadequate

Life just has been giving me increasingly more reasons not to look forward to living a full life. I am a senior in High School and the best way I can sum it up is that it has been the absolute worst time of my life. All throughout high school I struggled to make meaningful friendships with anyone even remotely popular. The best way I can describe it is say I’m talking to someone and then someone calls the other person to get their attention- instead of saying “hang on “so and so” let me finish listening to Thomas” they’ll just completely forget about me and start talking to the other person, and not acknowledge that they were talking to me before.
Recently, I started talking a girl in my grade that I never really did before because I thought why not. And someone found out and started making fun of me on Snapchat saying this girl wanted to have sex with me and so on, knowing full-well she obviously didn’t. Which is fine, but the fact I was targeted by some unknown person to mock the fact I was talking to someone was so dehumanizing. And this just goes on. My next door neighbors are popular in my grade and are always having parties. But I, someone who’s known them since third grade and used to play with them all the time never get invited. They know and most other people in our grade know I love right there, but no I’m not good enough to get invited. It’s things like that, being ignored, being forgotten about, being mocked for having a voice talking to someone that just make me feel not even human, and I try so hard to say they’re not better than me or they don’t concern me. But, if this is the way most people in life are going to continue viewing me what’s the point? To live 70 more years and be alone the whole time just sounds like a Hell, and I can’t forget about these people because it will be the same thing in college and so on. I just can’t seem to feel adequate anymore and I don’t know what I can do.

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High school is pretty bad for anyone who isn’t one of the average students, whether that person pours their heart into an extracurricular or has significantly higher or lower grades than the rest of the class. The social hierarchy follows a bell curve, and anyone who isn’t in the middle third is an outlier.

In the world of high school, no matter what your teachers and parents tell you about good grades and college, the only thing that really matters to most students is social status. Now look ahead to after high school–after all, you’re almost out. When you graduate, when everyone you know goes off to school or starts working, what will your old social status matter? Meanwhile, you can’t force meaningful connections–they’re organic. I wormed my way into the fringes of the cool kids, and the whole time I felt like I didn’t belong, and was paranoid that they knew I didn’t belong. I was liked well enough, but formed no meaningful connections with anyone remotely popular, and I was profoundly lonely in high school. If I could go back, I’d have formed connections with the people I actually related to. Fast forward a decade or so, one of my best friends now was one of the most unpopular girls in my high school. Wouldn’t it be silly if, in 10 years, you were still looking up to the popular kids?

On your college applications, they ask about grades and extracurriculars, but they don’t ask about social status. Have the best senior year you can by making genuine friends wherever you can find them. Student council? Band? Theater? NHS? There are plenty of people all around you who are also looking for genuine human connection. One day you might look back and have more than just bad, sad memories there.

It is dehumanizing. That person is turning you two into sex objects. What they’re doing is not right, but I don’t see much what could be done about it (though I graduated just as social media was catching fire). While you can’t do anything about that person though, you can control how you conduct yourself with this girl. Go for it if you like her and she likes you. Hold your heads high and enjoy each other’s company. Haters gonna hate, but they may just be missing the potential connection you are forming.

Your next door neighbors are trying to shape their social status and nurture their egos. They’re probably squarely in the middle of the bell curve. If you’re not there in the bell curve with them, you do nothing to help their social status, so in their minds why should they include you? They are fake people trying to create golden images of themselves. Now ask yourself this: Do you really want to spend time with people who don’t want to spend time with you?

This is NOT the way most people are going to continue viewing you. There are no cliques or popularity contests in the real world. People just exist, trying to make a living and navigate life. In a world of 7 billion people, who is more popular than you? It doesn’t matter once you get that diploma and leave. It may still linger some in college, but you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people studying the same major, so you won’t be an outsider. People will also care less about how cool you are and more about how well you do in school or at networking, because they will see pretty quickly that those are the most important things for, as you said, 70 more years.

The feelings of inadequacy won’t leave if you let them become a part of your identity. Everyone is insecure to some degree or another. Senior year can be a defining time for you. Mine was defined by doubling down on sculpting my college resume while trying to ignore the fact that I had no human connections. What will define your senior year?

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Thank you for your words of wisdom. I know this isn’t the first time you have taken the time to look over one of my posts and give your thoughts and advice. And for that I greatly appreciate it. Lately I’ve been so caught up in my image, and how other people perceive me. But, I think something I’ve been overlooking and something some of my real friends have been trying to tell me is that sometimes other people just straight up don’t care. Like not even necessarily in the sense that think little of me, but they just simply don’t care whether or not I do something or say something because it doesn’t affect them. Sorry, this sounds depressing, but I can’t figure out how to word this better, but I assure you I mean this epiphany in a positive light!

Snapchat has been one of my greatest contributors to this anxiety. I would go on almost daily and post long rants of text or video of me basically making some social statement indirectly about what the “popular” people are doing and essentially saying I’m better than them. Or on the other hand I’d post depressing things admit I’m not cool or something like that. Maybe some people thought I was a loser for it. Maybe some people just didn’t care? Regardless over the last few days my real friends have shown to care- a great amount too. They all went out of their way after seeing me announce I was leaving Snapchat to make sure I was okay and to tell me they were there for me if I needed it. It almost made me want to cry- I almost felt guilty because everyone seemed to be really concerned for me, but I am so thankful, because it really cheered me up and made me feel appreciated.

So, yes I may be a loser to the “popular” kids, or maybe they just don’t care and don’t even pay attention to what I post or do. What I am learning ever so slowly is that the only people that matter are those that care about you. If someone feels they’re too good to talk to you, let them feel that way- it’s really only their loss. And I may add that I had multiple people say that they really don’t think anyone hates me and that the general consensus of most people who know me is they respect me. Again, whether or not this is true- I do not know, but I do know that my friends respect me.

So, I am getting better and better at accepting who I am. I’m getting really good at hands on maintenance with cars and I’m currently in the midst of restoring the frame on my truck- try and find another 18 year old doing that with their free time lol. Alas, I still feel anxiety about relationships, and whether or not I will ever find a partner. It’s so easy to say “Wow, I’m 18 and I’ve never even gone on a date. But, if you take some time to talk to others and think about it there are plenty of other people out there who feel the exact same way, and might feel like outcasts like me, so that provides some comfort. And while I do not want to accept defeat per se, I have been thinking about the idea that maybe I won’t ever find a partner, and it really isn’t the end of the world to be completely honest. So, while I immensely want one, my life can go on without it just as it has for 18 years. So thank you again @SheetMetalHead for you taking your time to respond with wisdom and analyze my situation- it’s been aiding me in rethinking my anxieties end worries both now and in the past- it means the world to me :point_right:

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Yes yes yes! I couldn’t have said it any better! Remember that people respect you. That was lost on me until 10 years after I graduated, during which time I identified as the high-achieving loner. Turns out that fringe friends respected me for all the things I thought made me less than others.

As for dating, yeah I know that feeling well. I didn’t have my first serious girlfriend until sophomore year of college, and until then I thought I’d be single forever. It’s catastrophic thinking, and it’s really hard not to do during spans of time that aren’t going your way (still is for me at 31), but it’s not real. Whoever she is, she’ll come around eventually, don’t worry.

Keep going on that truck frame! That’s seriously cool. As much satisfaction as I get from taking engines, brakes, and interiors apart for maintenance, I’m intimidated by body and frame work. Doing that will set you up to restore a whole car eventually if you want.

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