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Life would be better if teens didn't try so hard to be `cool'.

Byline: 20BELOW By Katey Gath For The Register-Guard

It takes a lot of makeup to be in high school, and that doesn't necessarily mean the kind you put on your face. Most people don't allow others to see beneath the surface. But if they did, they'd be surprised at how much others would like and respect them.

I have always had a hard time with the "popular" people. No, jealousy is not the issue here. The issue is how hard it is to find that one friend who will stick by your side no matter what - the one who takes you for exactly the quirky, smart and beautiful person you are. It seems high school girls and boys alike try so hard to be liked.

I have to ask myself, though, why? Why is it that people have to dumb themselves down or put on a fake attitude in order to build a reputation with whomever it is they want to impress?

Constantly, I see girls who make fun of others to get "cool" points. I see the way girls act to seem friendly to everyone. It's just an act, though. Have you ever had an encounter with a girl, or boy, who pretends to be friends with someone, and the second that person walks out of the room, our friendly poser starts talking bad about the other person?

This is not how a real friend behaves.

The definition of a friend is "a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard" (www.dictionary.com).

What it actually takes to be a "cool" person today is amazing to me. One must change his or her hair color, wear high-end fashion clothing, be thin, be able to be mean in a "cool" way, get in with the right crowds and, most of all, have the "it" factor.

No wonder it's so hard for teens today to just be themselves. Too many of them put on a show. And for what? When they graduate from high school, will they still be making fun of others and trying to be cool?

People have to get comfortable with who they are. You should never shape yourself around what others want you to be.

It's a difficult personal choice, and perhaps one that means you won't by liked by the popular crowd right now. But there are others out there just like you, wanting to be accepted for themselves.

If more people would just be themselves, high school would be a much easier roller-coaster ride - not so many ups and downs. I have hung out with people who have "fake" personalities, and some have dared showed me who they really are.

I realized if they were like their true selves more often, they would be better liked. Too many people care way too much about what other people think of them. But if people relaxed and opened up to others - and most of all to themselves - it would be a lot easier to earn trust and have healthier relationships.

Making friends is hard, but if more people took off some of that makeup they just might find the best friend they've been looking for.

Katey Gath, 15, is a junior at Sheldon High School. The 20Below column is open to young people between the ages of 14 and 20. To submit a column, e-mail your 500- to 800-word essay to 20Below@registerguard.com. Please include your full name, age, address, phone number, year in school and where you attend school. There is no payment for a published column.
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Title Annotation:Personal Life
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 27, 2008
Words:596
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