You spend approx. 6 years with the same people throughout high school so it’s inevitable that you’re not going to get along with everyone. You’ll go through fights and break ups and your best friend in Year 7 might not be your best friend in Year 12. There’s nothing wrong with falling in and out with people, after all, high school is a hectic time. You’re facing stress and exams and changing attitudes. The person you are on your first day compared to who you are when you graduate is going to be completely different and that’s okay. No one is expecting you to be the same person forever.

We all go through rough patches. When you’re stressed and worried and spent all of last night trying to finish the essay that was due first period this morning, it’s easy to snap at people.

But there’s a difference between having a few arguments with someone and being a terrible person. There’s a difference between not getting along with someone and trying to make their high school days a living hell.

It’s true when people say kids can be mean. And we’ve all had a day when we’ve got home from school and felt like it was the worst day of our lives.

So, you need to be nice to people. You need to be nice to the girl who annoys you every time she opens her mouth and the boy who always asks smart ass questions in class when you’re actually trying to focus. Be nice to the girl you used to be best friends with and the boy who broke your heart.

It’s easy to get so caught up in our own lives and our own feelings that we forget that we can have a major impact on someone else’s. Every comment, every snicker and every snide remark can knock people down in a way that you can’t even imagine.

The thing is, you don’t know what people are going through. You don’t know the kind of lives that people have once they walk out of those school gates and ditch their uniform. Everybody has their own secret struggles, and the worst kinds of people are the one’s that go out of their way to make someone else’s life harder than it needs to be.

Look, I’m not saying you have to go out of your way to be friends with everyone. It’s impossible and impractical. But the reality is pretty simple: don’t spread rumours, don’t gossip and don’t stab your friends in the back.

It’s okay to break up with people and it’s okay to cut toxic friends out of your life. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to choose the people you want to be friends with. Not everyone will get invited to your party and sometimes you’ll be left out. You will make mistakes and say the wrong things. Somewhere along the way someone is going to get hurt, and that’s okay. That’s just a part of growing up.

What’s not okay is cutting people down for the sake of it. What’s not okay is undermining people because you think it’ll be funny, or ‘it’s just a joke’. It’s not okay to target people because you think they deserve it, or because you know it will be easy to get to them.

Think about what sort of person you want people to remember you as. Yeah you might never see most of the people from your school again, but do you really want to be remembered as the person who made high school harder than it already is?

We grow out of high school, we leave our experiences behind and we change. But the memories you leave with people stay the same. Don’t be the person who taints memories of teenage years with dark places. It’s not hard to be nice.

“People may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

image credit: leahpicariello

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