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Social Teflon for Teens, Part II: Spin the Wheel

Lucky kids’ popularity cycle

Well, that was kind of rude. I tell you to go feel good about your thing and then I ditch, without a word on how to do it. SOR-ry (to the tune of the doorbell, DING-dong). Well, chopchop. Let’s get on that.

First, some background info on feeling good about yourself. If you’re lucky, you grew up in this, like, recycling symbol of affirmation, above. Go. Read. Now.

Not so lucky? Me either. My recycling symbol was more like this:

1) You’re (choose as many as apply) ignored/resented/abused/belittled at home

2) Your day-1 self-perception: “I’m unlikable”

3) Because you’ve never known “being liked,” you put off a “Please like me, but I know you won’t” vibe

4) Your belief that people can’t like you tells the world, “This kid’s a weird one”

5) You have no friends, which reinforces…

6) Your self-perception: “I’m unlikable”

The problem with recycling symbols? They have no end. Each step in the cycle makes the next one happen, every time. So unless you got Brady Bunch lovin’ as a tiny tot, you’re socially screwed, right? Forever alone. SOR-wait! Stop right there!

There are ways to break the recycling symbol. Jerkoffs toss their 98%-post-consumer-waste water bottles out car windows every day, don’t they? They do. And if jerkoffs can break the chain, so can you. All you’ve got to do is reset your spin cycle.

The start of the loop was “We don’t like you,” and that thing kept on spinning. But jam a wrench in there–a message that contradicts the spin–and it snaps to a halt. It might not be easy; it might not be cute. But you can turn that machinery around.

Okay loudmouth, you’re thinking. It’s impossible to make people like me, and to solve that problem, I’ve gotta…make people like me?

Yeah, I guess I am saying that. And yeah, I know it sounds like psychobabble. But–and here’s where I don my top hat and tails, and jump up on my box–I know it can be done. Because–wait for it–I did it myself! And you can too, for the low, low price of…$0.

Just stick with me. Come back next time, with your mind open and your cynicism in check. We’ll get ya there, you and me. We’ll get ya to the top of the social heap in no time. Just you wait.

 

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