Sick of being the backup friend

I’m always the last choice – the one that no one notices. 

I can relate, says our elder. Here’s how to be proud of who you are and put your best foot forward.

Dear EWC

Hello, I am having an issue with my friends. I am nearing the end of my sophomore year of high school, and I am having trouble navigating the social scape. I constantly feel inferior to everyone because I seem to be everyone’s backup friend. You know, just a part of the group that no one ever notices. Sometimes I wonder if people even care whether I’m there or not. I can leave hangouts without a trace and no one cares or asks where I’m going. I hang out with about 11 guys in a group consistently, and we are coming up on all of our end of year activities – dances, field day, all-nighters and the like. I’m nervous I’m gonna lash out or feel like shit the entire time. Whenever people come to our group – specifically girls – I’m always the last choice. I feel like I’m nothing to anyone in our grade. Should I just not worry about it? Should I force myself more into the group (because sometimes I isolate myself)? Should I desert them?


Paul-Dad replies

Hello. I’m an Elder now, but I can sure relate to your note. When I was in high school, I was friendly with many people, but I never felt that I was completely accepted by any regular group. I craved the company of girls and wanted female relationships, but I rarely felt that my interests were returned. 

Be sure that you are putting your best foot forward. Make sure that you are presentable with clean clothes and shoes that are as fashionable as your budget allows. Have an up-to-date hairstyle and cut. Hit the gym and running track to stay in shape. These might seem to be superficial suggestions, but they will help with how others judge you and will boost your self-confidence. 

Some of us just aren’t wired to be in the in-crowd that probably is made up of the best looking, best built, athletic and charismatic persons. Some of us aren’t wired to be valued members of hang out groups. Some of us may sit at home during sports events or proms. Work to be the best that you can be, but don’t worry that you may never be a high school superstar. Be proud of who you are and work to be your best. 

I’ve had the pleasure of attending many high school reunions. It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular and accomplished former students quickly lost the looks and builds they had. Also, some of the least noted former students will look great, and will quietly relate success in employment and marriage. Sadly, many classmates pass on well before they enjoy a long life. Life is a marathon, not a dash. Look to finish strong, there are no trophies for those who bolted quickly ahead at the start. 

Be friendly with your fellow students, offer a smile and a friendly “hello” to all, and notice that they like to answer questions you offer about their interests and opinions. Pay attention to your fitness, cleanliness, and grooming. Don’t forget that the most important thing for your life right now is to put in hours of study and care regarding your academics. Your actions today are building blocks for your future. 

Thanks for writing to us. Feel free to write to us again and let us know how you are doing. 

Article #: 496371
Category: Other

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