Q: I feel like everyone around me is maturing a lot and even acting a lot older than they are. I’m getting so caught up with trying to fit in and act like everyone else. It has been hard trying to find myself and separate that from me trying to be, act, and look like my peers!! Any advice?
Ummmm every teen girl ever!!!! Girl, I totally get where you’re coming from… it’s SO nice to be able to breath for a second and remember that a lot of other girls are facing this same crossroads in their teenage years. To the girl reading on the other side of this screen, you are NOT alone and no one knows what they’re doing. In my eyes, the answer to this extremely complicated question is actually pretty simple.
Short answer: There’s a point in every middle school girl’s life where Justice hoodies get replaced with crop tops, granny undies get replaced with thongs, jeans get tighter, and suddenly the smell of nicotine isn’t too foreign. My friend reminded me last night on facetime that no one actually cares what you do. They're too obsessed with themselves and whether you vape or wear a lot of makeup, they aren’t paying attention. All I can say is make sure that you trust the people you surround yourself with, keep your morals in check and trust your intuition. When the cops pull up and you’re associated with a group of rowdy teens, your role in the scene is irrelevant and you are just lumped into a mess. At the end of the day, the goal is to feel secure in any friendship of which you are a part. If you are confident that you can still prioritize school and family, then choose the group that you feel least isolated within, keep your head up, and enjoy life.
Long answer: Like I feel the need to point out in every blog post, teen girls are REALLY insecure. These girls have no interest in looking out for their friends, heck even for themselves, because their minds are strictly focused on impressing others and one upping each other. The ‘mature’ stuff you see people getting into is a cover to distract them from their self consciousness and hard realities. Girls are just superb con artists who know that heavy eyeliner and an amazon corset make the best disguises. In my experience, sure I’ll slightly dip my toes in some more mature matters but I naturally have pulled away from people who make choices with which I disagree. When I was a freshman, I met up with this group at the mall and one of the girls had just stolen a few things from a shop. It shocked me but no one else cared. Then, everyone wanted to go up to the rooftop with some varsity basketball players from a random school across town. I might have been overreacting but in the moment, I freaked out and definitely felt this pit of discomfort. Being desperate to join the ‘fast’ group makes us feel like we are the ‘lame’ or ‘uncool’ ones, and yet they are the ones making lousy decisions. For me, breaking the rules isn’t fun… it's stressful. I will say that relying on drugs and alcohol for your happiness will form some terrible habits that can warp your reputation for many years. Turning to substances as an outlet to avoid problems is unhealthy and becomes progressively worse. There's a time and place for being a bit rebellious and letting your wild side run free. When that time is coming… i’m not even sure yet because I don’t think I’ve reached it myself but I’ll update you once I know (lol). As a sophomore in highschool, I’m glad that I’m moving at my own pace and trying to align myself with people who share similar values to mine. As far as the way you treat your friends who are changing, you can’t punish them. Whether it is moving really quickly with a guy or even breaking the law, you never want to come across as the ‘mom’ who keeps your friends from having their version of a good time BUT you also want to protect them.
You might be wondering, ‘should I support my friends who are doing these things?.’ Like I discussed in my post about ‘my friends have changed’, “everyone needs their space and time to deal with their own issues. People change and that's just a part of life. It’s silly to expect that your 12 year old besties will be the same people all throughout the stages of ‘growing up’”. Let these girls make their mistakes without dragging you along with them as the background friend. If you still want to preserve some sort of a relationship with a few of the girls, maybe you suggest some youthful, fun activities to do together like a picnic at the beach or lunch out (something in the day). They will miss being around such a genuine good person like you but will likely continue with their 'mature' activities on some level and that's ok.
The truth is that I’m not sure if this will ever end… trying to chase after popularity or the people who always seem to be one step ahead. I will say that after middle school, the drugs will get more intense and the social situations more dangerous. This is your reminder to slow down a little bit and don’t force the process of what you think ‘maturity’ might look like because all the girls I know who smoke weed for a living look stupid.
We got this,