May 8, 2014 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL BEHIND AND LEFT OUT Today’s advice question comes from Isabelle, who writes: I feel like I’m behind everyone my age, and I’m starting to have trouble socializing with my friends. They all know and chat about all the latest celebrity gossip, all the best iPhone apps, and all the good books, but whenever they ask me about that stuff, I have no idea what they’re talking about. I am not really interested in that stuff and I don’t like to waste time getting updated on it, but I still want to be with my friends. What should I do? My Advice: Hi Isabelle! I think it’s pretty cool that you know who you are, what you like, and what you don’t like. And I totally get that you want to talk about stuff other than celebrity gossip, phones, and books. Don’t get me wrong…I love me some teen celeb drama, I’m all about apps (the iPhone kind AND the fried kind you get before your meal!), and clearly, I’m a huge book dork! But I get that there are a lot of other things to be interested in, and that everyone’s different. I think your friends probably understand this, too. Unless they started as just one girl who was then cloned multiple times, odds are, they all have their own unique interests, just like you. They probably talk about all that stuff you listed because those are things they have in common. So the question is: what else do they like…individually? And what do YOU like? They could have all kinds of hobbies and interests that you don’t even know about! And it may be stuff that you like, too. Maybe one of them really wants to take a ceramics class. And another wants to build her own website. And another is totally into competitive ironing. (Look it up. It’s a real thing…a totally weird, yet very real thing!) The point is, you don’t have to stop being friends with them just because you’re your own person. You just have to make the effort to find some common ground. I know this won’t change how you sometimes feel like they’re all talking in a foreign language, but this will make it easier to stay connected to them, even if you don’t like all the same stuff. As for what to do when they ask you about those things, ask them questions right back! There are two things EVERYONE likes to talk about: stuff they like, and themselves! So say, “Tell me more about that! And what interests you about it?” Then after they talk for a bit and have officially decided, “Wow, Isabelle is the BEST conversationalist ever,” change the subject to something else…something that doesn’t make you feel super bored and left out. What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Isabelle?