First Impressions With Other Teens

Sam is a 16-year-old from Montgomery, NJ. She enjoys playing tennis, writing and Community Service. Her favorite subject in school is History.



We all know and have heard the millions of ways of how to present yourself well in more formal situations, whether you’re chatting with the principal of your school or a potential employer. But what about instances where you have to interact with other teens that you’re meeting for the first time, such as a summer college program or a teen tour? You might seem more relaxed, friendlier and more open. While this can be good, sometimes being too relaxed and too open can backfire. Here are some tips to remember when meeting other teens this summer.


Clothes DO Make the Person


This basically says it all. Yes, it’s kind of annoying since maybe your parents have repeated this mantra to you so many times. In all seriousness, though, you might not want to step out in any low-cut tops, too short shorts or innuendo-laden tee shirts right away. Instead, try and wear something that’s distinct and unique without giving off a promiscuous impression. Save the revealing stuff for a dance or a trip to the beach.



Keep Personal Topics Off Limits…For Now


Let’s be honest: it can be a bit uncomfortable if the person you met five minutes ago starts talking about polarizing things like religion and politics. However, most teens don’t realize that even topics like your romantic preferences, experimentations, and even the most benign gossip can be a turn off when meeting other teens for the first time. Keep topics like that reserved for when you are well into the program and find a tight-knit group of friends. Instead, when meeting other teens, try on focus on more innocuous topics like your interests, talents, and family.


Social Networking Can Help…or Hurt


This summer, I attended at summer college program at Cornell University. One of the ways everyone tried to get pumped up in the few months prior to the program was to start up a Facebook group for everyone to chat and meet each other beforehand. Once the program began and everyone met in person, it became okay to introduce yourself as “Hi, I’m Sam. We met on Facebook?” While Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networking sites can be beneficial and good preparation for meeting other teens for the first time, they can also be detrimental, because you might come off as a stalker (somewhat ironic considering most of us teens shamelessly “creep” on the internet). So, keep in mind that the internet and social networking can either work in or against your favor.


Be Yourself!


Again, another cliche, but true. When trying to make a good first impression with other teens, sometimes your nerves might get the best of you, and you may try to re-invent yourself into a more likeable persona. Don’t. Chances are, people will like you regardless of who you truly are. In fact, trying to be someone that you aren’t (or even worse, trying to be too good to be true) will backfire more than you think. Overall, just don’t be nervous, and just be as you as you can possibly be.


Image: Aiden Jones from Flickr

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