The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Help Me Help You!

Hi guys! I could use some help and I could use it from you!

You see, I write this blog to help teens live happy lives. I try to provide tips, tricks, advice & thoughts (I don’t confess to have all the answers) to some big questions like, “Who am I, Why am I Here, and What is Life all About Anyway?”. What’s most important to me though is providing content that’s most important to you. How can I help? What can I write about that will help you get through these teen years with grace, style and happiness? What questions can I answer? I’m not a therapist by any means (but I am a life coach) and I’m here to provide some guidance and honest answers just for you!

If you’d rather not post here you can DM me on twitter (@handbook4teens).

Your teen years really can be your best years and with a little help and guidance from the Secret Handbook, they can be even better.

Hugs to you!

Losing a Friend Sucks but Some Tips on How 2 Handle It

Last night I attended an event where I got to watch a teen I know (let’s call her BFF#1) interact with her “BFF” (let’s call her BFF#2) of several years. I put “BFF” in quotes because it’s clear (at least to us adults who have lived through this) that this friendship is likely doomed. I suspect, sadly, that it’s mostly because of a boy but there might be other issues which I’ll also explain.

You see, BFF#2 has her first boyfriend and it’s starting to impact the amount of time she spends and gives to BFF #2. You’ve seen this happen before right? Maybe it’s even happened to you? You have a great friend, you’re closer than sisters, you spend all your time together and then WHAM! Your BFF becomes someone you barely know overnight as she becomes completely consumed with a boy. It’s sad when this happens (and sadly, it happens even as you get older) but it’s a learning experience for sure. You may never experience this during your teens or you may experience it several times but here’s some advice on how to handle it.

1. First, try to be understanding. I know, I know. This sounds like completely bizarre advice for the person who is obviously hurting you. But, it’s really easy to just get mad or sad or upset that your BFF has flown the coop and it’s also very easy to say “I would never do that to my friend!” but maybe you would! Your first boyfriend is a big deal and you too may find yourself completely consumed with a boy at some point. So, try to understand why she’s acting this way and put yourself in her shoes for a moment. I’m not condoning how she’s acting but it’s really easy to say you would never do something when you actually might if you were in the same situation (at least for a little while and perhaps unintentionally). The biggest reason to be understanding, however, is not because I want you to accept what she’s doing as ok but because you shouldn’t build up hate or anger towards someone. It’s easier to shrug your shoulders and say, “I don’t like it and I hope I wouldn’t do it but I guess I get it and I can get over it.”

2. Ok, once you have tried to understand why she’s acting this way it’s time to actually talk to her about it. These conversations are never comfortable but she may not even realize she’s doing it or if she does, she may just think that you’re so happy for her that you must obviously understand why her time is now occupied with someone else (yeah trust me, people can act pretty dumb when it comes to boys). You could start the conversation out by just telling her you miss her and that you’d like to spend more time together. That might be enough of a clue for her (unless she’s completely clueless) that you’re reaching out. You could say something like “Hey, how about we go shopping on Sunday afternoon just the two of us. I really miss you.” If that doesn’t seem to work you could try being really honest and tell her that you’re hurt. If she really is a good friend she shouldn’t want to see you hurt and might try harder to find balance. If she doesn’t come around, well, that’s information for you to process too.

3. Ok, this is a hard one but sometimes people just aren’t what they seem and/or people change and you just need to accept this. The BFF you thought you knew better than yourself may be changing. She may not share the same interests as you anymore. She may have stuff going on at home that is making her pull away. She may, and trust me this one happens ALL THE TIME, be jealous of you and it makes it hard for her to be your friend. I’ve seen jealousy impact a lot of friendships (my own included) and it is a really powerful negative force. You would hope that BFFs would just be happy and support one another regardless and with a true friend, this will (hopefully) be the case. The reality is that jealousy often gets in the way. Again, I’m not saying it’s right but it happens. When someone changes or jealousy tears you apart there isn’t too much you can do but learn from the experience.

Does any of this help? The most important thing to remember about these kinds of experiences is that it has nothing to do with you. I know that sounds weird but you really didn’t do anything wrong (unless you did in which case you need to own that) and your friend is just struggling with her own fears, inadequacies, feelings and needs. Yes it obviously impacts you but really, and I mean this, it has nothing to do with you. This is a super super super important lesson to learn about life and people. In fact, I wrote an article for parents about it that you can read here if you’re interested. You can’t take anything personally in life because it’s not about you. It’s someone else just dealing with their own stuff and taking it out on you. Trust me on this. It’s hard to practice but if you can learn it and accept it now in your teens, you will be an amazingly well-balanced and lovely adult. I promise.

I hope this helps a little. Losing a friend is a gut wrenching experience and it’s ok to feel upset about it. But, as with all painful experiences in life, it will help you grow. It gives you an opportunity to figure out what kind of friend you want to be to others and what kind of friends you want to attract in your life. I hate watching it happen to the teen I know but I know she will find her own way and be stronger for it. I know you will be the same.

Want to talk about a similar experience? How did you handle it or how did you not handle it?! Comment here and I promise I’ll try to help!

Looking Back on the School Year: What Would U Do Differently?

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Ok so maybe my quote doesn’t quite jive with the title of this post but bear with me. For the most part, I agree that we should try to not relive the past and shouldn’t spend all our time worrying about the future.  All that being said, I do think it’s important to look back on your school year and take inventory of what you did well and what you did…well, not so well. Life is a learning experience and it is through these experiences, good and bad, that we figure out who we are and who we want to be moving forward. So, look back on your school year and think about it for a minute. What happened that you didn’t like? What would you change? Would you study harder? Would you try to not obsess about your grades so much? Would you try to have more fun? Would you spend more time with friends or family? Would you try out for a sport or join a club? Would you learn to ignore the nasty comments/posts/looks from people who aren’t your friends and don’t even pretend to try? Would you try to make a new friend? Would you not have chosen a friend?
Once you’ve looked back, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take a deep breath, be ok with the decisions you did make and vow to spend your next school year being more authentically YOU. Whether you would do things differently or whether you would do everything exactly the same, as long as you are trying to be you, you won’t fail.
But now you tell me – what would you do differently? What would you not change? What advice would you give to someone just starting high school? What would you do to more authentically you?

A Lived Lived Deeply Can Equal Deep Scars. R U Ready 2 Go Deep?

scarred heart by delphine devos

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. – Garrison Keillor

Being a teenager is filled with a lot of ups and downs. You have really really good days and really really bad days. Hopefully, by the time you get to adulthood, you have a manageable mix of both (though some days it will feel like you’re still in high school. I might as well be honest with you. This site is all about learning after all.) The thing is, while the highs and lows might seem extreme, it’s how you know you’re really living.

Falling in love is great but breaking up feels like someone is ripping out your intestines.

Making new friends is wonderful and losing them really hurts. Bad.

Achieving a goal feels amazing but failing is like falling down. On your butt. Hard.

You could just live safely and avoid all of this right? You could stick to comfortable situations. You could find a few friends and not look for new ones. You could close yourself off from love because it’s too risky.

I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty boring doesn’t it?

When I look back and think about the really painful experiences in my life I realize that I learned the most from the painful ones. In fact, and while I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, I would live through them again. They’ve made me who I am. They taught me to go deep. To live big. To take chances. To love deeply. To learn. To grow. To truly experience life. To be my true self. To be Me.

My advice to you is to go deep. Don’t be afraid of what might happen. Don’t worry about the falls, the scrapes, the bumps or the bruises. Yes those things will leave scars but those scars are the sign of a life lived deeply.

Are you ready to go deep?