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once a shy person trying to help
this is my first forum post, well, ever, so apologies in advance if my post is a bit out-of-tune. 

All throughout middle school (6th to 8th grade or age 11 to 14), I was in a particularly pitiful state. I had no group of real friends, I would always sit with the same people at lunch because I knew them since kindergarten so I assumed that because we had grown up together in school they automatically became my "group". Although they weren't bad people by any stretch, it seemed they (as well as myself) always looked to me as the outsider. I never really *was* a part of the group after all. To add to that, I had absolutely no confidence, I was painfully shy and reserved, and *never* hung out with anyone outside of school. So as I entered my freshman year of high school, lacking confidence, a straight set of teeth, proper eyesight, and a backbone, for some reason, I felt like I needed to get a girlfriend, solely because that was what I thought you needed to do to have something to show for the fledgling stage of my maturation process. Piece of advice #1: this couldn’t be farther from the truth! If anything, in such a pivotal stage of growth, going your own way is integral to discover who you are and what type of person you want to be. In such an early stage of growth, it’s rare that your beliefs and values are in order, and if you immediately pair yourself with a significant other, the temptation of allowing the relationship to shoulder the burden of searching within yourself to find said beliefs/values is oftentimes much too great to resist. Trust me, I am well aware of how hard it is to turn your focus away from a potential relationship or significant other at the high school age, but I cannot stress the importance of independence at this point of growth enough. I believe these things to be true because I did precisely what I am saying not to. Within the relationship, which lasted from freshman year to my junior year, i was not a man (obviously!). I was a boy! I had no idea what I wanted, what she wanted ( I tried my best to always be attentive), or even how to properly communicate my own emotions (I still don’t and I’m in college now). Moreover, in the time of the relationship and even a few months after, I wasn’t confident at ALL. I didn’t think making an effort to speak up in a conversation was even worth it because I had convinced myself that I couldn’t think and say something worthy of even being interpreted. Frankly I was floundering during the relationship and even after until I realized that I had been doing such a thing. So, after I realized this and analyzed the fact that I still had no one to call true friends, I decided to make a change. I started speaking up, saying crazy, weird, out there stuff, things that were genuinely rattling around in my mind. Once I started doing that, firstly it became clear who weren’t my friends. Yes this is discouraging, but that is necessary to delineate between them and the people who genuinely want to hear more from you! That brings me to piece of advice #2: In a conversation with a group of people (at school primarily) and something they say or joke about strikes something up in your mind? Share it!! If it’s controversial, in that case it’d be your call, because saying anything in your mind is still a genuine reflection of who you are, although everyone has a threshold for edginess lol. But overall, your thoughts are just as valid as anyone else’s. Furthermore, don’t let your temporary inability to properly structure what you want to say get you down. I struggled with this immensely. But, just like anything, you try and try and keep trying until one of those attempts really hits the nail on the head in regards to what was *in* your head. From there, your confidence gradually rises. The key is allowing the botched or stutter-y utterances to roll off your back. The one success of properly delivering what is in your mind to an audience infinitely outweighs the failures, no doubt. So, junior year rolls around, and I decide to put this plan into action. Naturally, many distanced themselves, because frankly im a pretty weird guy. But a select few stayed behind to hear more of what I had to say. Those people are now the best friends I could ever have. My final piece of advice: BE WEIRD. Its so cliche but its cliche for a reason: Being “normal” in the eyes of popular culture is so forgettable, so inconsequential to the human race…so cowardly, really. So, when you start “being weird”, it will become painfully evident how few people there are that relate to you. But, and I assure you of this, they are out there! There’s well north of seven billion people on this planet, so chances are if you’re into making wooden carvings of pigeons playing poker I’d be willing to bet theres at LEAST one other person out there. And I will be candid, these pieces of advice are not end-all-be-all by any stretch, im just a guy trying to possibly help someone in of a tough place. In fact, even after I actualized these pieces of advice, it was still bad. I would argue it was worse for a small bit! But the short time in that dark place pales in comparison to the fruits of unadulterated, pure, personality…or originality. In fact, one of my friends is, I would say quite confident about herself, but she has inspired me because her positivity is unending. This friend of mine has truly unrivaled perseverance in positivity. In fact, her personal motto is to “be the proton”. Nerdy and cheesy, yes, but profound words to live by nonetheless. I actually made some shirts with that saying because it stuck w me so much. But overall, I will leave with this: patience is key. This change will not happen in a day, month, a year, or hell even 10 years. BUT: change is coming! Change is ironically the only constant in our life, so you can take that to the bank. 

If you made it all the way down here thank you so much for trudging though that rambling messI really hope this possibly helped one of y’all! Hope y’all have/had a good day

If any of y’all are interested in the aforementioned shirts heres the link!
Good advice, I agree with your tips.

One piece of advice for you - break your writing up into small paragraphs. It's really difficult for the reader to read huge chunks of text.
(10-28-2018, 08:35 PM)bender22 Wrote: Good advice, I agree with your tips.

One piece  of advice for you - break your writing up into small paragraphs. It's really difficult for the reader to read huge chunks of text.

When I posted and saw that I went--oh boy haha. I'll make sure to do that next time!
"Be the proton" - wow, I agree, that is incredibly nerdy.   But it's great that you have a positive friend like that, and even a cheesy motto is more useful than none at all, provided that it sticks in your head and guides you to good behavior.

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