If you don’t already know, I live in Olympia, Washington. I am convinced that Olympia is in the top five for cities where people dress like freaks. Have you seen Portlandia? Yeah, that show is pretty much everywhere in Oregon and Washington west of the Cascades.
For some reason way beyond me, it’s become “in” to be different. The more mismatched, hipster, and funky – the better.
If that weren’t strange enough, it’s this whole being different thing that makes you fit in. And if you strive to be normal and fit it, it sets you apart as not fitting in at all.
See, this is why it’s great to live life according to different standards than the world. The whole hipster thing just doesn’t make sense.
So here’s ten ways to stand out from the typical teenage crowd…in a good way. Whether you live in hipster, suburban, rural, or urban community, these are for you.
1. Dress to impress…Jesus. Yes, I know. The modesty thing again. But it needs to be said over and over! It kills me to see teenage girls dressing “cute” by rocking booty shorts and low cut tops. Cover up, girl! Keep people’s eyes on your face and not your body!
2. Put down your phone. A guy from my church, after returning from the mall, affectionately nicknamed teenager’s thumbs as “texticles.” Seriously. Is anything that vital and important that you need to read and write back every other minute? Do yourself a favor – go to the mall/school/your living room and turn your phone off. Shocking, right? Show the world that you don’t have to be plugged in all the time.
3. Be “all there.” At school. At church. At dinner with your family. You are so used to multitasking, it’s hard to give anything your undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Curb the note passing and texting, quit doodling, don’t whisper, and take your eyes off the clock.
4. Respect adults. From your parents to your teachers to the rest of the world, you are sorely outnumbered in the teenager to adult ratio. But a little respect goes a long way. Listening and not talking back. Holding doors. Even the occasional “sir” and “ma’am” will be enough to make people look twice and realize that you are different.
5. Try hard. Somehow, somewhere along the line, the expectation for teenagers has become 75%. C. Average. And when people expect that, you live up to that. Hey, if no one else is going to raise the bar, raise it yourself. Give 110% at school, at home, on your homework, and on your church life.
6. Smile. And, no, this isn’t just for those emo girls. (Is emo still a thing? I feel like I don’t see them as much as I used to. Maybe they all started taking a little more Vitamin D…) Smile in a way that says there is joy in your heart. Don’t give spiteful, mean smirks. Don’t whisper to your friends and then smile. Walk, drive, talk, and sleep with a smile on your face. (And on a separate note – don’t obsess over your smile. It’s the one God gave you. Don’t not smile in pictures or in front of people because you’re self-conscious. Show it proudly. Jesus Himself painted it!)
7. Do one selfless thing a day. Pick up random trash. Hold the door for someone. Park way in the back of the school parking lot. Stay after class and straighten chairs. Fold your sister’s laundry. Do at least one thing once a day to show that you don’t think you’re the center of the universe.
8. Admit weakness. Whoa. Whoa! Wait – do I mean that you should admit that you’re less than perfect? Let your friends know when you struggle and screw up? Actually say the sentence, “I was wrong?” Yes, yes I do. By admitting when you’re struggling, you give glory to the One who can get you through it.
9. Get by with less. It’s amazing to me how expensive it is to be a hipster. For people who dress like they did a blindfold grab at Goodwill, they sure do spend a lot of money on super nice bikes and anything with an Apple or an iPaid-a-lot on it. Other groups are the same, always buying the latest and greatest gadgets or filling their closets with new clothes. Be different by not always wanting something new. Be different by being content.
10. Be kind. Not nice. Not fake. Truly and genuinely kind. It’s easy to do kind things for people who are kind to you. But extend that to people who don’t like you, people who annoy you, people who believe different things than you.
Question: Which of these do you already do? Which of these could you increase so as to stand out? Are there other things that you do to make yourself different than those around you?