Ask a Friend: Advice Column Week 1
Hello Parker Press readers! We are very excited to introduce Parker Press' new advice column: Ask a Friend. We have created this advice column with the intention to foster a designated safe space for peers to be open about things they might be struggling with or have questions about and give each another guidance. For this first week, Parker Press staff asked each other for some advice to show our readers what our advice column is all about. Beginning today, we are opening the floor to anyone who is seeking advice! Every posting from now on, Parker Press staff will respond to questions they receive under their personal pen names.
HOW TO SUBMIT Anyone can submit questions via this form or dm us directly. You can sign your questions with your actual name, your initials, or a pen name---it's completely up to you!
Disclaimer: Advice from Parker Press is given by students on the Parker Press staff and is by no means a professional opinion. While every contributor has the best intentions, please take any advice given with a grain of salt, as every situation is very unique to each individual. Please keep questions school appropriate. Parker Press is by no means obligated to respond to questions that fall outside of these perimeters or are a violation someone's privacy. We hope you enjoy!
Q: How do I become a more interesting conversationalist?
A: Hi ARSB! I think that most people can relate to the struggle of feeling fully confident in their ability to have a conversation. As cliche as it might sound, I think that best advice is to go off of your first instinct because it's never that deep. I know this is easier said than done, but if you're constantly overthinking what you say in a conversation, then it is likely that everything you say will sound contrived or disingenuous.
If you struggle with conversation in general, then I would suggest asking the person questions about themself, as that is a topic that someone can always contribute to. Sometimes it can be nice just to ask someone how their day was and let the conversation flow from there. Try to be present and genuinely curious about what they have to say. Listen to their answers intently rather than waiting for them to finish talking so you can ask them another question that you think they'll find interesting. Just be yourself! HEAD EMPTY.
All the best,
Q: I have a crush on this girl in my class, and prom is coming up soon. I really want to ask her to be my date, but I'm too shy to do it. I keep trying to work up the courage, but every time I see her, I freeze up and can't say anything. What should I do to overcome my shyness and ask her to prom?
- Shy Admirer
A: Dear Shy Admirer,
Wow! It is so exciting that you are thinking about asking someone to prom. However, it's completely understandable to feel nervous about a promposal, especially if you're shy and unsure about what her reaction will be. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, but remember that you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take!
Here are a few tips that might help you feel less nervous about asking your crush to be your date at prom:
1. Get some friends involved: you can have your buddies hand flowers to your crush as she approaches the promposal location, have them spell out "prom?" on their t-shirts, or have them at your side with confetti poppers. Having some trusted friends nearby to support you could help boost your confidence.
2. Practice what you want to say: Sometimes, it can be helpful to practice what you want to say ahead of time, either by yourself or with a friend. This can help you feel more prepared and confident when the time comes to ask.
3. Remember that rejection is not the end of the world: While it can be hard to handle rejection, it's important to remember that it's not the end of the world. There are plenty of other people out there, and even if your crush says no, it doesn't mean that you won't find someone else who is a better match for you.
Q: How can I calm my mind and stop the thought cyclone when I’m trying to sleep at night?
- Ur Sleep-Deprived bestie
A: Hi Sleep-Deprived bestie. To start, we’ve all been there and it’s not fun. Not being able to turn off your mind like the simplicity of flipping a switch is frustrating. However, I have 3 tricks to hopefully help you out.
Drink Tea: This can be any kind of tea that helps with relaxation and is without caffeine. My go-to is Chamomile but there are several others out there including lavender, rooibos, and valerian.
Journal: There are many ways to go about journaling. Some of my favorites include writing whatever comes to mind at the moment. This can help organize and bring thoughts into a more tangible state. You can also take an item (e.g. receipt, sticker, flower, theater brochure, sticky note, etc.) anything with a bit of memory attached, paste it into your journal and write around it the significance of the item to you. This activity can help bring things into perspective and help you realize how much something so small can have so much significance. Lastly, a bit of doodling can go a long way to help relax your mind.
Stretching: Sometimes we’re all just a little tense and need that extra movement to relax. Doing a couple yoga poses and breathing practices can help to calm the mind and body allowing you to fall into a more tranquil state.
I hope one of these methods will help you to sleep better and become a “Well-Rested bestie.” Thank you for reaching out to the Parker Press advice column for insight. Have a wonderful day!
Q: I'm a 14-year-old girl and I'm having some drama with my friends. We've been friends for a long time, but lately it feels like they're always talking about me behind my back and leaving me out of things. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I feel hurt and left out. What should I do to try and fix things with my friends?
- Non-confrontational Wallflower
A: Dear Non-confrontational Wallflower,
I'm so sorry to hear you feel excluded from your friend group. Feeling left out and having friends who gossip about you can be really hurtful, and it's totally understandable that you're feeling hurt and confused right now. It's important to know that your feelings are valid, and you have every right to feel frustrated with the situation.
Have you thought about trying to spend some one-on-one time with each of your friends to try and rebuild your relationships? Sometimes group dynamics can get complicated and cause misunderstandings, but spending time with each person individually can help you get to the root of the problem and work towards a solution together.
If you're not comfortable having a conversation with your friends about how you're feeling, then maybe try expressing yourself in a different way. You could write a letter, make a video, or even create artwork expressing your emotions. Sometimes expressing yourself in a creative way can help your friends understand your perspective and be more receptive to making changes.
Just remember that it's important to take care of yourself and prioritize your own well-being. If your friends aren't willing to make any effort to improve your relationships, then it may be time to start looking for new friendships that are more supportive and positive. In the meantime, do some things that make YOU happy. You can go to the park, read a good book, or spend time with your pets.