Advice for Teen Girls Column: Why Can’t I be Pretty and Popular Like my Friends?

Melissa is a 15-year old from Rochester, NY. She enjoys volunteering and singing. Her favorite subject is English language arts because she wants to be a journalist. Melissa is one of our teen writers and also has her own fabulous advice site for teen girls at:, see more advice for girls at her site!

“I feel like everyone around me is extremely beautiful. Practically everyone I know has a boyfriend, except for me. How can I make myself more attractive?”

Being constantly surrounded by the pressure of having to look a certain way at school can really take a toll on teens. Believe it or not, your feelings are typical of most girls, even the “prettier” ones who seem to get all the attention. Instead of striving to be pretty on the outside, why not take a different route?

Happy, confident and friendly people attract others like magnets, regardless of their outward appearance. Remember, beauty is only skin deep. Even though it’s hard, we need to learn to accept ourselves. It’s actually very uncommon to see girls who are perfectly happy with themselves, and that is turning out to be a big problem. It seems that teen’s self-esteem is at an all time low and everyone is always striving to be perfect. Sure it’s important to take care of our bodies and have good hygiene. But when you feel that you’re getting to the point where you’ll never be happy with yourself, then we need to make some changes!

There is a lot of pressure on girls to look like the models and actors that appear on TV, magazines and on the internet. If you don’t know already, modeling pictures are edited to take away every blemish and to make them look perfect. Sure it would be nice to look that way, but it’s not reality.

It is great to have goals to try and improve your self, but they need to be attainable. If you need to lose some weight, set goals like “this month I’ll lose a few pounds”, “I’m going to eat less junk food,” or “I’ll exercise at least 5 times this week.” These are great healthy goals that are definitely reasonable. What isn’t okay though, is taking drastic measures by putting off too much weight in a short period of time. This is not only extremely unhealthy from the strain it puts on the body, but it can lead to further damage as well.

When you were a young child, did anyone ever tell you that you have beautiful eyes or nice smile? Then when you get older, you saw all the people with beautiful hair, a nice complexion or a petite figure and thought you didn’t measure up? Even if your strength is something as simple as good nails, why not embrace it? Be proud of who you are, and you’ll learn to love yourself. Instead of saying things to yourself like, “I’m ugly”, “I am fat” or any other negative thoughts, change those into positive thoughts like “Hey, I have really nice hair!”

Try setting this goal: go one day without thinking anything negative. It is a huge challenge, and it may take some time especially for those with low self-esteem, but if you can overcome the constant negativity, then that’s really great and gives you something to be proud of!

Also, not all guys are completely shallow and just focus on looks. I know it seems like you have to try and impress them by looking amazing every single day. But, why attract those kinds of guys that only go for the outward appearance? Don’t give up yet because I guarantee you that you will find somebody that will like you for who you are, maybe in the near future, or maybe in a few years. And that’s okay because having more maturity is great for a relationship anyway.

So just keep in mind that you don’t have to look perfect, since no one is. Putting up with the pressure that surrounds us especially in high school can be tough, but you’re good enough to pull through it! Changing your outlook on life can be a great thing, and hey, with a little confidence who knows what can happen next!

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6 Responses to “Advice for Teen Girls Column: Why Can’t I be Pretty and Popular Like my Friends?”

  1. becca
    January 14, 2010 at 3:07 am #

    this is the best advice i have ever had.maybe you could make some thing to go on your website like gossip because i don’t fit in and and the people at my school have really loud voices so i can tell a lot of it is about me:(

  2. Diamond
    September 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    HoW are we supposed to find good things about ourself if everything about me is ugly ? .
    Explain that please…

  3. Katie
    December 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I agree with @Diamond. It’s hard to look in a mirror and say “I have a nice ____” when NOTHING on you is nice. it’s impossible. i guess i just have to live with being an ugly person that no one would ever want to be with…

  4. Vanessa Van Petten
    December 14, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    Hi Katie,

    I know how awful that feels…you should try to find an activity or person that makes you feel good. Like a sport or art and then you can start with that small part and then it will expand.

    Good luck!


  5. Jess
    January 22, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    I hate looking in the mirror and seeing ugly. My bestfriends are all really pretty. We go to the mall and they always get compliments and it’s so awkward for me. I hate my appearance.

  6. Vanessa Van Petten
    January 31, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Hi Jess,

    I definitely gelt that way for a while when I was a teenager. It took a long time to learn to accept myself. Be patient, find friends who really care about you and do activities that make you feel great.

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