Advice and Help for Teens

How to Be Cool

Cool boils down to not caring what people think. Seriously, think of the coolest kid in your school. Then think—ohshit, this sounds so mean—of the lamest kid in your school. I’ll bet you ten bucks the cool kid is totally doing their own thing, wearing their own style, whatever, and the lame kid will do anything to fit in, is desperate to make people like them.

True? True. So the answer for how to be cool is simple: do your own thing, and f*ck what anyone else thinks about it.

Here, I’ll prove it. Back in the day, Britney Spears was super hot. She knew that how to be cool was by doing this outrageous thing: wearing a sexed-up schoolgirl outfit and singing a song begging her crush to literally hit her. Was it socially acceptable? Nope. Did she care what anyone thought of her being socially unacceptable? Hell no. And that’s how she got rich and famous.

The same formula is working for Billie Eilish today. She’s like the ultimate cool, because she rejects the hot-girl rules that Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez play by, with their tight dresses, lots of skin, perfect hair and makeup. Billie wears big baggy outfits. She does “ugly” hair and makeup. She almost never smiles. And we love her for being exactly herself. That shit is what’s cool.

The answer to how to be cool for you can’t be found on this page, or any other one. It can only be found in your own personality. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I passionate about? What do I love?
  • Is there a “look” that represents that? Can I bring some of that look into my outfits?
  • What kind of people do I most admire? How do they act?
  • Can I act in ways like them in my own life?

I’m not saying it’s easy to do your own thing. It can be totally scary to break away from the norm, especially if you live in a place that values fitting in more than standing out. How to be cool might look more “outrageous” in New York City or Tokyo than in Iowa City or Oslo. So maybe you start a you-doing-you shift in a small way, like trading your white Chuck Taylors for some purple Pumas. But once you start flexing what you really think and like, and toilet-flush others’ idea of how to be cool, people will start noticing you. In the good way. Watch.

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