The teenage guide to making friends

Published on January 30, 2020

Sasha was a popular teenage girl with a great sense of humour.  Other teens were attracted to her because of her outgoing and friendly nature.  Little did her peers know that she suffered from social anxiety.  She often worriedwhat others thought of her to the point that her academics suffered.

Teenagers are aware that any mistake they make socially could show up on social media or in a chat group.  This can lead to a certain amount of social hypervigilance.  Not only do you need to appear confident and fashionable in person, you also need to appear confident and cool online.

Here are some pointers to feel comfortable in your own skin:

1. There is no such thing as perfect

It is impossible to be a perfect student, friend, athlete or teen.  You will make mistakes, and that is ok.  When you make a mistake remember to practice self-compassion

2. Self-compassion

I often hear teens being kind to their friends, supporting them in a gentle and nurturing way. Yet, they struggle to give themselves the same compassion when they make a mistake.  Self-compassion means I can learn from my mistake without beating myself up.  I can forgive myself and move forward.

3. Be yourself

Don’t pretend to be something that you are not so that you can fit in. You can only act for so long before the true you shows. It is ok to be yourself.  People who accept and appreciate you for you will be the friends that you connect with.  Pretending to be something that you are not will lead to more profound social anxiety.  Your authentic self is who will attract like-minded friends.

4. Don’t dumb yourself down

Sometimes, teens fear showing their talents because they are afraid to be made fun of. This is unfair to you, own your skill and practice it.  Your ability or hobby will also help you to destress when academic and social pressure becomes overwhelming.

5. Don’t Mind Read

Don’t mind read. Believe it or not, other teens are socially anxious as well.  There is a good chance that they are more worried about what they are saying and doing than what you are saying and doing. Don’t assume that you know what others are thinking.

6. You don’t have to be friends with everyone

You aren’t going to like everyone, and everyone isn’t going to like you. That is normal.  Sometimes people might not like you for things that are out of your control like your ethnicity, gender or religion.

7. Boundaries

It is ok to say no to peer pressure and things that you don’t want to do. If your friends drink, but you don’t, don’t feel bad to say you don’t like alcohol.  It is better to keep yourself safe than to drink to make friends.  In the long run, you will be happier and healthier if you place yourself first.

8. Privacy

Don’t post private or personal information on social media. It is ok to share feelings and emotions with your friends in person whom you trust and feel connected too.  Posting this on social media could lead to cyberbullying or expose you to other social threats.

9. Social media isn’t real

What you see on social media does not represent real life.  People post only what they want others to see.  Don’t compare yourself to the images and stories.


If you would like to set up an appointment please reach out to me on +852 2521 4668 or email You can book a private or Skype session.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Category(s):Friendships, Social Anxiety / Phobia, Social Isolation, Teenage Issues

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

Mental Health News