Yeah, study, exams, assignments – high school is meant to be hard – but are you making your life more difficult than necessary? Here are four ways you could be.


#1. You assume that people don’t like you

I thought nobody liked me in high school. In fact, I felt largely alone and unnoticed. Since then, various people from high school have connected with me on Facebook. I’ve now heard that I was the most popular guy in school and a star athlete. But I didn’t remember it that way.

I was a star athlete, sure, but, since I was a coach’s kid, I never got invited to any parties, because no one wanted me to tell my father who had been drinking. I only remembered Friday and Saturday nights spent at home with my mother.

When my wife’s ten-year class reunion became imminent, someone she went to high school with asked her if she was going. “That’s a hard no,” she replied. “Well, if cool kids like you aren’t going, I don’t want to go either.”

My wife’s response to me: I was cool?! When?! She was one of the first people invited to her class reunion, and one of the girls she considered popular reached out to her and told her how much she always admired her in high school. Just because people don’t tell you they like you or invite you to do things, doesn’t mean that they don’t, in fact, like you.


#2. You expect other people to do the things that you don’t do either

After finding out that people actually liked us in high school, we both had to face the hard reality that we never invited anyone to do anything, either. We sat around hoping for someone to ask us to do something, because asking someone to do something wouldn’t have been ‘cool’.

If we had just asked, we could have had thriving social lives. Although we joke that it’s because we were the coolest of the cool kids and were just too intimidating, the reality is that everyone else was equally scared of stepping out of their comfort zone and asking us to do something, for fear that we might have deemed them ‘uncool’.


#3. You forget that other people have problems, too

If you feel like people don’t notice you or are mean, realise that they have busy lives and problems, too. They probably don’t think about you as much as you think they do.

My wife remembers a girl in high school who always seemed rude and short with her and others.  One day, after falling asleep in class, she apologised to the teacher and told him that she had to pick her mother up from the bar whenever she was too drunk to drive and failed to pick up a guy.  It was easy to see why she always had a bad attitude; she was dealing with a lot.

You just don’t know what other people’s lives are. They may be caring for a dying grandparent, struggling with an eating disorder, raising a sibling while their parents work, or dealing with any number of other serious problems that just don’t give them the time to dwell on you. It might not be you they dislike, they may just dislike their lives and the world.


#4. You think that everyone is living a better life than you are

Everyone always seems happier than you and like they’re doing cooler things than you are.

My wife still remembers being on swimming team with a girl who was part of the ‘in’ crowd. The last day of the season, she overheard her talking about living with her dying grandmother, and, all of a sudden, her life didn’t seem so perfect. In fact, it sounded just like hers. She was headed home, where her grandmother was dying, too. Their lives were not as different as she had assumed.
These days, thanks to social media, it can seem even worse. Don’t forget that everyone always seems happy on Facebook; most people filter out the bad and only the post the good.

After high school, when people are posting wedding and baby pictures while you’re single – and holiday pictures when you’ve maxed out your credit card – you’ll be glad you learnt to cope early on, by recognising it for what it is.

By changing your perspective and thinking about what the real motives and attitudes are of the people around you are, you can change your high school experience for the better. If it doesn’t improve your experience, it will, at least, give you some insight and empathy, so that you realise it’s not always about you. Usually being alone or made fun of is about them.


This guest post was written by Jeff Bearden, AKA “The Get Back on Your Feet Guy”.

Jeff Bearden inspires today’s youth to get back on their feet, stand up to bullying, battle depression, and live lives free of alcohol and drugs through his motivational speaking. As a professional wrestler for over 25 years, working under the names “Giant Warrior” and “Tiger Steele”, Bearden entertained audiences all over the world, including audiences of over 75,000. Through his wrestling career, he had experiences both positive and negative that he brings to his speeches. The topics that Bearden speaks on are those that have personally affected him and people he knew from his life on the road, providing his audience with a judgment-free and relatable message. His message is as powerful as his seven-foot stature: no matter where you are in your life and no matter what cards life has dealt you, you can get back on your feet and thrive.