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I am pretty but lack self confidence

Published: January 25, 2015 | Last Updated: January 25, 2015 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
A teen feels awkward in social situations and thinks she lacks self confidence.


I am 16 almost 17. I am really pretty (so I have been told by many) and I have everything going for me. I’m smart, athletic, artistic, and funny—but I don’t have any self confidence.

I have ADHD and I’m socially awkward. If I get this “down pat” then I will have everything in the world. What I’m asking is, How can I get more self confidence?

It’s not like I’m insecure about the normal things. I love my fashion sense. I know I’m pretty. I’m secure in knowing who I am in Christ but I can’t talk to new people. I can’t even ask the store clerk a question when I need to. Guys won’t ask me out because (in their words) “She’s hot but she’s weird.” What can I do?

Signed, Allie


Hi Allie,

Every teenager I’ve ever met has some insecurities, whether the person is a boy or girl—popular or not. Some are better at covering up those vulnerabilities but it’s common for many teenagers to spend so much time worrying about their own perceived flaws that they don’t even notice others people feeling self-conscious.

Admittedly, having ADHD can add another challenge to your social experience because it may make you feel different from your friends. Be assured though that some of your peers also have ADHD and/or other issues that add to their feeling self-consciousness.

You probably have more self confidence than you realize because you were able to identify some of your positive qualities.

To help you approach new situations with more self confidence, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What stops you from talking to strangers like store clerks? (the overall problem)
  2. What do you think about right before you want to ask a store clerk a question?
  3. What are the next thoughts that stop you?

The key to figuring out your insecurity comes from what happens between #2 and #3.

Here’s an example of how a teenager might answer the questions:

  1. I’m too awkward. (reason for fear)
  2. I wonder if this shirt comes in pink in size Medium.
  3. I don’t want to bother him. He’s probably busy. I don’t want to look stupid. What if he laughs at me, etc.

Ways to look at the situation logically. Tell yourself:

  1. Practice is the only way to get over awkwardness and it’s easier to practice on people I’ll never see again. What’s the worst than can happen if I’m awkward with a stranger?
  1. I am a customer with a question. The store wants me to ask questions to find merchandise and spend money.
  1. He’s probably more worried about finding the answer to my question then thinking about me. I’m not asking for a favor, answering questions is part of his job.  He might even be more nervous than me because he wants to help me. And he’ll have good practice helping out a nice customer like me and won’t be as nervous next time.

Sometimes when looking at the big picture (talking to a stranger) is a lot scarier then breaking the task down to very small, logical, manageable parts.

This is just one example but you could use this same technique when you feel insecure in other social situations. You already have everything you need to be more confident and less awkward. You just have to put things in the right order in your mind.

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: Child and adolescent friendships, OTHER ADVICE, Teen friendships

Comments (2)

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  1. GraceW says:

    When I was a teenager, I was so painfully shy that I didn’t have the courage to make a call to the local pizza place to order pizza. Eventually my parents refused to do it for me, so I had to work up the nerve to do it myself. I do not know how ADHD may affect how you relate to others but here are some things that have helped me:

    * Prepare a script beforehand. Yes, write stuff down and practice it. This helped me a lot, especially in the beginning. Who knows, I guess I was scared I was going to screw up “Large pepperoni for delivery, please.”

    * Compliment people. Be genuine, but there must be something you can find good about others. Especially clerks in retail stores. “I love your earrings. Did you get them here?” Compliment a pretty, unusual braid style. Cool boots (I love boots, lol). Pretty ring. Sometimes you end up getting a really interesting back story about a piece of jewelry from a person. Even if not, you’ll make someone feel good about their fashion choices. I have a couple pair of earrings that people often compliment, and I am a sucker for it.

    * Use the follow-up question “And you?” or “How about you?” after you’ve answered a question someone has asked you. I learned this while studying a foreign language and it practically doubled my conversational abilities in the language. Then I started to use it in English, too. It can help to keep a conversation going. It’s also a natural deterrent against people who like to ask intrusive or inappropriate questions, when they realize they’ll be expected to answer their own annoying questions.

    Talking to others takes practice. Good luck.

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