• Other Friendship Advice

I’m nice to people but they don’t like my appearance

August 17, 2016 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
A teen feels that her appearance my be interfering with her friendships at school.

QUESTION

Hi,

This is my first time writing to anyone like this before. I hope you can help.

I recently moved schools due to being bullied in my old one. I always got made fun of because of my weight, the way I looked, the fact my father died or because I dress differently from a lot of the people in the school.

It was quite a small school so I kind of stood out from the crowd. I’m one of those girls who likes to dress in black and listen to heavy metal music and I understand how that might make me quite weird and how people don’t really associate with people who are the kind of “gothic” type. But I am genuinely nice to people and I’m always making sure people are okay, and helping people in any way I can.

I did have people I used to hang around with a lot but they always made me feel low and never made me feel like I belonged. One of the girls was my best friend at one point but she ended up being a part of the bullying along with the other girls in the group

Eventually, after a big fight, my mum took me out of the school and I moved to the school I’m currently. I still get constant messages and phone calls from people at my old school who still are making fun of me. I thought moving to a new bigger school where I didn’t know anyone would make a difference. But there’s no one in my year who has anything in common with me and two of the girls in the group whom I hang around with in school have already told me they didn’t like hanging around with me.

I still feel the exact same way as I did in my old school (hated and judged all the time) I have all ready tried going to the school counselor but she doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s basically just a chance to get out of class now.

I honestly have no friends to turn to and it’s horrible not having anyone to talk to. The only thing that I can think of is to change my entire look and everything to make new friends but I’m comfortable the way I am and I’m really hoping there is a way I can have a normal high school life.

So sorry for this boring life story of mine I’m just trying my best to find the right advice.

Hope you can help.

Signed, Carly

ANSWER

Hi Carly,

I’m glad you decided to write. Having good self-esteem, and liking yourself are important parts of being happy. You seem to realize that your style of dress might cause some people to prejudge, without taking the time to know you. I don’t think you should change who you are in order to fit it, but you may be able to moderate parts of your style to appear a bit more approachable.

When you look in the mirror or take a selfie without posing, what do you notice? Are your face and eyes expressing friendly openness? Do you look approachable? Practice different facial expressions that say, “I’m friendly and kind.” Your peers will pay more attention to what your face is saying than your clothes.

Have you thought about getting a new phone number? If you don’t have a way to block callers or message senders, ask your mum to get you a new number. Bullies thrive on negative reactions. Don’t respond, under any circumstance, because not responding is a response that says, “You aren’t  worth any attention.” Answering is like putting gasoline in a car; it fuels bullies to keep going.

If girls don’t like hanging around with you, you probably are socializing with the wrong people. Did they give you reasons for their statements? When a pattern exists with friendship problems involving different people and settings, looking inward can be helpful ask yourself:

  • Am I choosing friends with whom I have similarities?
  • Am I choosing friends with good social skills?
  • Am I choosing kind friends?
  • Am I choosing friends who seem to like me?
  • Am I contributing enough, but not too much to discussions?
  • Am I thoughtful?
  • Do I use appropriate body language and facial expressions?
  • Do I refrain from speaking negatively about others?

I’m glad you’ve been speaking to your school counselor, but if she isn’t helpful, perhaps your mom can find you someone outside of school with whom to speak.

Good luck figuring things out!

Signed, Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: OTHER ADVICE, Teen friendships

Comments (3)

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  1. Maria says:

    Hi Carly,

    So sorry to hear you are going through this. I think Amy Feld had terrific suggestions. Being a nice person doesn’t prevent you from being bullied. We sometimes think that kids are being bullied because they are not nice and that is not the case. Dressing differently can make you more unapproachable. Now I’m not saying you should change how you dress but realize that unless you are in a school with a group of “gothic” people, others might have a harder time understanding and relating to you. The black clothes and heavy metal music might create enough of a barrier for people to not really be open to get to know you. Especially if you’re the only one in your school who dresses like this. You might want to see if there are other “gothic” people you can hang out with after school. It’s not fair to you that such a big deal is made out of how you look but unfortunately that is how it is. Be open to that it might not only be your clothes or choice of music. If the counselor in school doesn’t help, you might want to find one outside of school. Again, if you find other gothic people, feel right at home with them and accepted, it might just be narrow-mindedness you are encountering at school. We don’t always come across the way we think we do. If girls tell you they don’t like hanging out with you, do you know why? This might give you a clue as well.

  2. PeachPie says:

    The public junior and senior high schools are a living hell for many kids, and they will become targets for anything that makes their peers sense vulnerability – anything that’s not like the majority, being new, being shy, not having friends to back them up when those bully trial balloons are floated. It’s not your fault, you’ve just been sent to hell, that’s all.

    Since your parents cared enough to switch your schools, ask them if you can be homeschooled. Then choose your social life from nicer places, for example church, community activities, and so on.

    Also, make your size work for you. If anyone pushes you around too much, knock them down and sit on them. This is war!

    Best wishes on your escape from hell. I’ll be rooting for you!

    P.S. People get much nicer after high school. Trust me on this. 🙂

  3. Patty says:

    hi, I didn’t see your name but want to talk to you. I am older, 59 years old. I was never really popular in school. My father died when I was 12. I was in the category of a broken home according to my classmates. I was glad to have sisters but they had friends of their own in school. In 7th grade I wanted to belong so badly that I ended up in the wrong group. I was bullied for the whole school year. In those days they didn’t recognize it as something that could really hurt someone. I was already very shy, the girls were the tough girls at school they would threaten to beat me up after school almost every day. I was so scared all the time. They would call me names in gym class in the locker room and call me ugly. It was so horrible. I still have those feelings today of being left out. I am still leery of trying to fit in with a group of women and feel they will never accept me. It’s affected my jobs, schools, and anywhere I go. I realized later in life that I am the one setting off those negative vibes. I now try to dress happy, make people smile, and at least make someone happy or say thank you to me when ever I’m out. I always felt like they needed to be nice to me first. Now i take the first step and make them feel good to be around me. People are drawn to happy things, and happy people. Do things to make people feel good around you, of course don’t let them take advantage of you, do it on your terms not theirs. I still crawl into a shell when people treat me badly for no reason but hose people will always be that way and probably that way to other people as well. And if you still can’t feel good and be happy move on. Take advantage of being young enough to excel in your studies and really find what you like to do in life. People will notice you for your success and want to be around you. Go for it it’s your life!!!

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