GIRL TALK with Allisyn & Audrey! Teen actresses (and real-life besties) Allisyn Arm and Audrey Whitby answer YOUR questions about friendship and life in girl-world! Got a question? Send it to submit@BYOUmagazine.com.
COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHER GIRLS
It’s hard for me to be comfortable or have fun at school or at events because I always compare myself to other girls and end up feeling ugly or not good enough. They all seem prettier, thinner, or dress better than me. I get jealous and then feel even uglier. Some of these girls aren’t even all that nice, but they get attention and it’s not fair. I think about this all the time—I can’t help myself and its making me miserable! ~Feeling Like An Ugly Duckling, age 14
ALLISYN: Body image issues are difficult to deal with. Society, with the help of the media, has planted this idea in our minds of what “pretty” and “perfect” look like. The self-esteem issues you’re facing are very common and too many girls are affected by this. If you asked any successful celebrity or model, I guarantee they’d be able to tell you at least one thing they don’t like about themselves. It might take them awhile to think of one though—do you know why? Because successful people focus on their strengths. Look in the mirror and practice focusing on things you like about yourself, rather than the things you dislike.Don’t ever compare your looks to anyone else’s. Your strengths are different from theirs. Focus on what makes YOU beautiful and encourage others to do the same.
AUDREY: You’re not alone; we all have times we don’t feel pretty. I have learned that during the times I focus on a flaw (like a pimple or my clothes not fitting right), it’s usually because I don’t want to think about my other stresses, like grades or friend problems. Eating right, taking care of my skin, and drinking lots of water are great ways to feel physically good. I also love the endorphins that come with exercise like yoga or a run!
Don’t compare yourself to others and get comfortable being the awesomeness that is YOU! The truth is, we will never be perfect. We have to learn to love all the good and not-so-good things about ourselves because they are what make us uniquely wonderful! Your inner beauty will shine through when you like yourself. Audrey Hepburn once said, “Happy girls are the prettiest.” So BE HAPPY! xo
MAKING FRIENDS IN A NEW SCHOOL
I moved to a new state and had to start a new school where I didn’t know anyone, so it’s been a challenging school year so far for me. Can you give me some advice on how to make some good friends? ~New Kid on the Block, age 15
ALLISYN: When trying to make friends, make sure you’re not compromising who you are just to be liked. You shouldn’t have to change your opinions or your look to fit in. Also make sure that you’re hanging out with people because it makes you happy, not just because you’re lonely. To quote the wonderful Robin Williams, “I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” Don’t tolerate toxic relationships with “friends” who put you down or make you unhappy just because you’re scared of being an outcast. If no one at your new school seems to like you or understand you, search outside of the school for new friends. Take up an after school sport or a book club to meet kids with similar interests.
AUDREY: My advice to you is be as confident as you can be. You don’t want to be desperate on the search for friends. Your best bet is to be yourself and see which people stick around. Those are the good friends you probably wanna keep. You also want to be open to trying new things and meeting new people. It may seem scary, but you may find new friends and hobbies that you really enjoy! Be friendly, positive, and yourself, and the rest will be cake!
Back to School 2014
IS IT UNCOOL TO BE A NERD?
My friends complain there’s nothing to do—I always have a ton of great ideas but they tell me they’re lame. They’ve started mocking me about being a nerd because I have lots of hobbies. I’m worried once school starts they’ll keep teasing me. Should I hang out with them to appear “cool” (and be bored) or do things I like to do and risk our friendship because they don’t want to be seen with a “dork”? ~Bored with Being Bored, age 12
ALLISYN: In middle school I tried to be friends with everyone. The popular girls wanted to mostly watch movies and read teen magazines, but I had lots of interests they didn’t share. So I joined a robotics team and made lots of new friends. I had friends when I wanted to have a water gun war in the backyard and friends when I wanted to have a sleepover and talk about boys. It’s hard to find friends that have all the same interests as you so branch out. Join book clubs or take after school sports. Spend your free time doing things that make YOU happy, rather than being bored just to fit in. And let your old friends know they’re welcome to join in your other activities!
AUDREY: Interests change and sometimes your group of friends will too. That OK, as long as everyone is being true to herself and there’s no judging. This makes the world interesting; we are all different! This is your time to be a leader—you have lots of interests to share with others and can inspire them to find what they like! Keep doing your hobbies and developing new friends who like the same things, while staying friendly with your old friends as they explore their interests. Who knows, you may add a new hobby or two! My mom always said, “Only boring people get bored.” You are definitely not boring and no doubt when school starts you’ll have lots of fun. “Dork” and “nerd” are just words that don’t matter; you KNOW who and what you are! Embrace your interests, encourage others who have different interests, and have a great and INTERESTING year! xo
WHAT HAPPENED TO SILLY, GOOFY, AND WEIRD?
It seems like all my friends are changing now that we started middle school. We used to goof off and do silly things just for the fun of it and to make each other laugh, but now it seems everybody gets embarrassed so easy and doesn’t dare act weird anymore because they’re worried what people will think. Hang-out time with friends has become nothing but sitting around texting and stuff, and I honestly get really bored. I miss all the laughs and giggles we use to have over the dumbest stuff. How do I get my friends to know it’s still OK to be goofy, even though we’re older now?~Missing the Good Ol’ Days, age 12
ALLISYN: Hang-out time with friends definitely changes as you get older, but that doesn’t mean you should stop being silly or having fun. If your friends just can’t seem to put down their phones and electronics, then maybe you could find new ways to be silly. Sometimes my friends and I have a “Silly Selfie Contest.” Whoever takes the most ridiculous picture wins! Watching YouTube videos together and making your own is always fun too. Friends might outgrow games or activities, but everyone likes to laugh. Stay Silly!
AUDREY: As you get older people change and outgrow each other which is perfectly normal. What’s important is to surround yourself with people who make you feel like it’s okay to be yourself. Senses of humor will change as you get older. You should take that into account. Accept how your friends are and be ok with how you are. It’s not a bad idea to make new friends and keep the old. xo
DEALING WITH SELF-CENTERED FRIENDS
When I’m with my friends, it seems like all they care about is their own stuff, like showing off what they just bought or how good they did on a test or something. It seems like we used to have fun together, but now it just feels like everyone is super into themselves and trying to be the center of attention and compete with each other. I miss when it felt like my friends really cared about me and other people. Now they just care about themselves. Is this what friendship is like when you get older? –Me, me, me! What happened to we??, Age 11
ALLISYN: Don’t worry, that’s not what friendship is like when you’re older. Kids go through phases. You’re in the “tween” phase right now, where everyone’s trying to figure out who they are. You can’t change the way your friends act, but you can set a good example by being humble and showing them that you care more about them than their stuff.
AUDREY: I think most people will concentrate on their own needs and wants if they aren’t charged with a higher goal. I know I’ve said this before, but if you want to attract service-minded friends, lead by example! Volunteer or start a service group and invite your friends. Some may surprise you by really getting into it when given the chance! The great feeling one gets when helping others is amazing. It catches on and creates chronic do-gooders. Concentrate on how you want to give back and not on how to change your friends—they can’t be forced into being considerate, concerned, or giving. YOU can, however, model good behavior and show them how rewarding putting others first is! 🙂