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Matthew Nielsen

The problems of a teenager

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Objectivism has changed me a lot for the better. I feel genuinely happy, like Howard Roark. I love myself and my life. I am relaxed and productive, I practice integrity and all the other virtues. 

However, I feel a slight need of socialization which is unfulfilled. It's not much, but I believe I could be much more happy if I had a companion. But. Most of people of my age party and do crazy stuff. I can't find anyone that shares my interest in anything or is half rational. Most of the people I know sell themselves for publicity and approval. I don't like that. I have bad relations with people as I don't think most of them as virtuous, avoid them, and they quietly reciprocate me and avoid me too. Generally, I see that people often disapprove of my justness. They somehow find vices fun and boast about it. 

I was wondering if should I remain isolated or try to make friends with the best of them. Is it possible without betraying myself? If so, how. 

Does it bring happiness, if so how much. Is it worth it in your experience?

Note that I'm not talking about keeping relations with people in general, but of the specific group of people that I come in contact with(mainly through school).

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Certainly stay away from people you feel are not good for you, your self esteem, your mood, your physical well being etc.

The best of your contemporaries, although they are likely not soul mates, DO have things to offer.  One may have a great sense of humor, another might be very artistic, while another might be really good at sports or some hobby you are interested in.  Take and give in those relationships the things which are mutually beneficial and ... for the most part keep them bounded to the kind of relationship that works for both you and your friend.  The time spent will be well worth it and you will learn much and forge lasting albeit limited frindships.

As an adult you will have very different politics, and religious beliefs from many co-workers and acquaintances but that does not mean you stop socializing... you just have to know the limits of each relationship and you can have a thriving social life which is good for you and your friends, well into adulthood.

 

When it comes to your soul-mate, and very close friends, your criteria of course would need to be more integrated.. and involve the whole you and the whole other person.  Rational first handers are rare, but don't be too discouraged, there are more people out there that are like you than you think.

 

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I wasn't one to avoid vices, or study particularly hard (or even attend all the classes), in high school, but I had schoolmates who did that. Some of them were hard to get along with, some of them were social, and I had no trouble connecting with them through other common interests.

So, just because you work hard and don't party doesn't mean you can't make friends who do. The main way I connected to people who didn't socialize through drinking or by skipping school together was through sports. But that's just because I was into sports, I'm sure there are many other extra-curricular activities people at your school do, that don't involve partying. Could be watching movies, could be just watching sports (at a sports bar or something).

Find one you enjoy doing. If you want to socialize with people, DOING SOMETHING together is the easiest way to go about it. Gives you something to connect about not just while you're doing it, but during school hours too.

Also, just because you don't drink, doesn't mean you can't go out or go to a party. One of my closest friends in high school and college never drank alcohol (I never figured out why, but he didn't for some reason). And yet, he wouldn't just refuse invitations to a party or to a bar because of it...at least not unless it was clear that there would be heavy drinking...no sober person could tolerate hanging out with drunks of course, but they can still attend parties.

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Definitely don't give up on trying to make friends and socialize. Even if you don't find anyone you particularly like, it's important to develop and practice good social skills as a teenager. I am not advocating conformity or giving up on your principles, just acknowledging the practical reality that you are going to have to get along with a variety of different types of people in your professional life and you need to start practicing now.

For example, when your office manager is trying to decide who to give a promotion to, he is more likely to promote you if you can demonstrate that you can get along with people easily, because that will make you a more effective leader. It's not just about making friends and being popular in high school, being able to get along with people is a marketable skill, just like learning to program or balance a check book.

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Thank you for your wise advices. I'll try to develop relations with them and grow my skill set. I won't ask you how to do it, since there is a ton of material on this particular topic, which I'll now study. A question on how to socialize wasn't included in the OP, so naturally you wouldn't answer it. But if you have any valuable advices that you think are important don't hesitate to share them. By the way, the main question has been answered and therefore the thread is concluded, but as I said - if you have any valuable advice that you wish to share, it is very welcome and I'd be glad to receive it. 

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I would recommend Alain Wolf's course on Udemy. It's a thirty day series, you watch one video each day that teaches you a new social skill and then he gives you an exercise to give you some practice with it. It's a bit expensive, but the advice is consistently excellent, and he responds to questions if you send him one.

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I would add that developing good social skills in high school is important for your success in college, even before you get into the professional world.

First, a lot of people make connections in college that help them get jobs later in life, and it will be harder to make those connections if you haven't been practicing your social skills.

Second, it will be harder to get girls to go out with you in college if you don't have any practice talking to girls. For that matter, there are girls in college who will not go out with you if they find out you haven't had a girlfriend before. This is because there are relationship skills that you can only pick up if you've been in a relationship before, and a girl will prefer to date someone who already has those skills over someone who does not.

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". . . there are girls in college who will not go out with you if they find out you haven't had a girlfriend before."

Hold on. I have never heard of this happening before ever, that somebody would be very interested right up until they find out a person hasn't been in a relationship before and then completely change course. Do you have any proof of this being more than just one or two people who do this? It's very common for people to get to college without having had a romantic relationship before, far from some unfathomable oddity that would get one branded as undateable. Getting to where you can comfortably communicate with people of the sort you are romantically attracted to is a good idea and can make a significant difference in one's ability to attain a romantic relationship, but actually having had a relationship before or not won't make a difference.

 

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3 hours ago, bluecherry said:

Do you have any proof of this being more than just one or two people who do this?

No, maybe you're right.

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Though Objectivism stresses the importance of Individualism, it doesn't imply isolation or seclusion.  With that said, if there aren't any people to value around you right now, then there just aren't any people to value--but you can find them.  There are morally white people and morally black people, those are people are more easily spotted, but it's the morally gray you have to look out for.

I'd suggest you read Nathaniel Branden's Psychology of Self-Esteem, which was a book written (and partially edited) by Ayn Rand before the break.  This is Objectivist psychology, and there are only slight and few differences to Objectivism as we know it by Peikoff today.  Getting a part time job in customer service where some people about your age work can help.

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