Dear Annalise Annalise Wang January 31, 2017 Dear Seniors DEAR ANNALISE, I don’t have many friends and though people laugh at my jokes and seem like they enjoy me, none turn into genuine relationships. I feel like oftentimes my humor is taken as mean, but it’s how I show I like you! How do I make more friends and form meaningful relationships? ANONYMOUS DEAR ANONYMOUS, Oh man, you’re definitely not alone on this one — to be honest, I wish I myself knew a surefire way to have genuine relationships with people. The fact of the matter is that in high school, it’s really difficult to be genuine and vulnerable, sometimes even with your closest peers. It can be an exquisitely arduous learning process, and a lengthy one at that, to learn how to be genuine first with yourself and with your relationships with other people. Perhaps a first step to take is to be aware of yourself. Be honest with yourself first — don’t say something simply in the hopes of others liking you. It can seem like the most important thing in the world sometimes, but a little social validation can come at the cost of becoming disassociated with who you know yourself to be. I speak from experience when I say that it’s never been worth it to always be saying “all the right things” that other people need or want to hear, and it is ultimately to your benefit to be yourself even if you’re the only one that stands up for yourself. If you say what others want to hear all the time, you are catering to their needs when that’s not your job or place – the golden rule is to take care of yourself first before you take care of others! It can be terrifying to feel alone when you say something or express your opinion in a way, but you’re going to be faced with doing just that time and time again throughout your years of schooling and beyond. You need to take a step out of your comfort zone and be confident in what you have to say, regardless of its social implications which you will eventually realize is petty in comparison to genuine relationships. For the humor aspect, humor is definitely one of your strengths already and it’s important to find people who share your sense of humor, lest they will get offended by a joke or comment they deem to be off-color. You can’t change other’s sensitivities, so don’t let it control everything you think and do. This does not mean that they don’t like you as a person — their mind works differently, and sometimes it can be refreshing to find people like this and be exposed to the perspectives they have to offer. If you find that people think that your humor is mean, make sure to mention to them that it’s your form of endearment to avoid confusion. Also though, it can be beneficial to also have friends with your brand of humor as it can be easier to form meaningful relationships with people you can completely be yourself around. You’re struggling with a lack of the feeling of “genuineness” in relationships, and although I can’t say genuine relationships are brimming with abundance in high school, I can say that they do exist. Through many “fake” friends, who are friends interested in things other than the wonderfulness of your personality, you will find some honestly great people. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life – you’ll meet new people so often, and there is an abundance of opportunity for authentic connection. Once you’re honest with yourself and what you say, relationships come naturally when you seek it. Also, this is one of those situations where quality vastly outweighs quantity – you say that you want to make more friends, Branch out, talk to people you never have before: they’re usually the most interesting and wonderful to be around. You’re going to find someone, if not someones, that appreciate you for who you are and what you have to offer. Obviously people already appreciate your humor, but there’s so much more to you than that. You say they “seem” to like you, and I am truly certain that they do – be vulnerable and find people who “get” you, that is appreciate you for who you are and not who your friends are or even what sense of humor you have. You are a positively amazing soul my dear. Have a little patience, a little honesty with yourself and a bit of courage to branch out. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me in person or online – I would love to be there for you as a support system or even a friend. WITH LOVE, ANNALISE Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.