Dear Teenagers, Not Everyone is Going to Like You and That’s Okay

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: Not Everyone is Going to Like You and That’s Okay

When our kids were in pre-school and elementary school, they were surrounded by other kids who, more often than not, included and accepted them.

When it was Valentine’s Day everyone in the class received a Valentine. At lunchtime, the entire class sat and ate lunch together, and in gym class, everyone was chosen for dodge ball – even if they were the last kid chosen – they were still included, they were still part of the team, they still felt accepted.

Fast forward to middle and high school and suddenly our kids have been thrown into a world where everyone isn’t quite as accepting or inclusive as they once thought. And, it’s one of the harshest realities of all…

Even adults struggle with the notion of not being liked, included or invited and yet, at such a young age, our kids are expected to navigate the sea of emotions, self-doubt and confidence-crushing feelings that accompany the truth of simply not being, in their eyes, wanted.

As a mother of three, there have been more than a few times through the years that my kids have felt the harsh reality of not being liked or included.

Rather than allowing them to wallow in their self-pity for any length of time, I tried to instill a few words of wisdom. Wisdom that would not only help them better navigate this unsettling time in their lives, but also words they could tuck in their back pocket and remember as they ventured through life.

As difficult as it was for them to accept, I shared these words…

Dear Teenagers, Not Everyone is Going to Like You and That’s Okay



You won’t always fit in.

You won’t always be invited.

You won’t always feel part of the crowd.

You won’t always be included, chosen or asked to join in.

You won’t always be appreciated, considered or respected.

You won’t always get the phone call with the message, “Please come, we want you here!”

You won’t always be on the top of others’ lists, the first they call or the one they turn to.

The bottom line is, not everyone is going to like you. And, that’s okay. It’s normal to want to be liked. And it’s normal to feel self-doubt when you’re not.

But you shouldn’t.

When you ponder the whims of others, hoping to fit in and be accepted, you become a slave to pleasing others and you deny the world the opportunity to know you, to see your unique and amazing qualities, and to love you.

When you try too hard to be liked, you risk losing a piece of yourself. Without even realizing it, your opinions may no longer be your own, your style quite possibly a byproduct of someone else’s, and your values a carbon copy of those you’re striving to please. 

Rather than working so hard to seek the approval of others, rather than striving to lure others into liking you by laughing at their jokes, dressing like everyone else, wearing your hair like everyone else and doing everything just “right” – all for the sake of being included, invited, accepted and fitting in, try being yourself.

Stop seeking the attention and praise of others to validate your worthiness.

If someone doesn’t like you, don’t waste your precious time trying to figure out why. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t matter.

Focus on being the best you can be.

Because the truth is, regardless of how hard you try to fit the mold of who you think you should be, there will always be some people who simply don’t like you. People who don’t even know you, won’t like you. People who don’t know your story (and don’t really care) won’t like you. People who refuse to dig below your surface, won’t like you.

Be brave enough to do your own thing, stand by your values, opinions and ideas (even if it’s unpopular), and maybe even be a bit weird. If that’s who you are, then that’s who the world deserves to see.  

What you may not realize is that being authentic and real and comfortable with who you are is empowering.

If you need a few tips to help you get past needing the validation of others, here’s how to stop caring if everyone likes you:

Trying to be liked by everyone is a losing game. The fact is, some people struggle to like themselves.

#1 Hit the Re-Set Button

It’s sheer human nature. We all want to be viewed as nice, we want to be liked and we want to fit in. But being nice, liked and fitting in can be overrated, especially when you lose a piece of yourself in the process.

Re-set your mind and give yourself the freedom to be YOU. Once you find it within yourself to blaze your own trail, you might just find that you inspire others to do the same. And, ultimately, you’ll attract the right kind of people and friends who belong in your life.

#2 Take a Few Risks

Slowly start stepping out of your comfort zone, even if it’s baby steps. Forget about what you think others might like or what the crowd is doing and do something you want to do.

Maybe you’ve been dying to try a new hairstyle or dive into a new, edgy trend that isn’t mainstream in your school – do it! Maybe you’ve been thinking about trying out for the school play, trying out for the soccer team or joining a club, but you’re worried how others might react or what they might say – do it! The sooner you take hold of your own life and happiness, the happier you’ll be in the long run.

#3 Figure Out What You Stand For

Have you ever given serious thought to what you stand for? What matters to you? What your priorities are? Even though you’re young, you likely have opinions on these questions – at least to some degree.

Start by writing them down. Make a list of your priorities and things that matter to you – maybe it’s being a compassionate person, trying hard to get good grades, being a good friend, etc. Think about what you stand for – what’s truly important to you? Maybe it’s eating healthily and staying fit, maybe it’s making the most of your free time before you graduate high school, learning something new every day or always striving to do the right thing. Either way, get your thoughts on paper.

The more you align your decisions, choices and actions with what you feel deep in your heart and the busier you are chasing your own goals and dreams, the less you’ll be inclined to think or care about the opinions of others.

#4 Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

If you’re worried about making a decision that others might not agree with or like, if you’re concerned you’re heading in a direction that might stir up some gossip or verbal hits from naysayers, consider the worst-case scenario.

Honestly, what’s the worst that can happen? So they talk behind your back? So they don’t agree with your decision or direction. Who cares? The worst-case scenario is typically nothing you can’t likely handle. Stop being so afraid. (Remember though, if naysayers turn into full-blown bullies, action should always be taken.)

#5 Accept Your Strengths AND Your Shortcomings

Everyone, regardless of how cool, pretty or popular they are, has their fair share of shortcomings. And, you do, too. Accept the fact that every part of you – your strengths and your shortcomings – are part of the “you” equation. Stop wishing to be someone you’re not and start loving yourself for who you are.

Heads up, teenagers. If you struggle to make or keep friends, it might require some self-reflection. Take a hard look at yourself to determine if you’re the type of person you’d like to be around. Are you judgmental, critical, or arrogant? Are you uncaring, sometimes unthoughtful or so wrapped up in your life that you don’t take the time to get to really know others? If you said “yes” to any of these, it might be time to make a few changes in yourself and focus on being a more “likable” person.

Not everyone is going to like you, accept you, want you or know how to receive your energy. Make peace with that and move on.

~ unknown

If you enjoyed this post, here are a few others you may enjoy reading:

Mentally Strong Teenagers Have Parents Who Refuse to Do These Things

Things Teenagers Wish They Could Say to Their Parents

10 Things Teenagers Love (Even if They Don’t Admit It)


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Amanda Hatcherson July 3, 2021 - 5:40 am

Well, if teenagers understood that, there wouldn’t be so many teenage dramas. After all, children are very social, and it’s hard for them to accept that someone doesn’t want to be friends with them. My oldest is quite vulnerable, he has problems at school because he can’t fit in. And trying to explain that being the high school star is not something that will make you a good person hasn’t worked yet.

Nancy Reynolds July 7, 2021 - 12:26 pm

With my own kids, I’ve found it’s a process… they eventually come to understand the value of standing on their two feet and not seeking the validation of others. Everything in time, right?? 🙂

Amanda Hatcherson July 8, 2021 - 4:13 am

Yes, you are right. This is his personal socialization experience, and sooner or later he’ll figure it out. It just pains me as a parent to see my child struggle with things that aren’t important (even though from his point of view, being liked by everyone is the most important thing possible).


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