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Come on, old folks. It's time to do the thing where we give teenagers advice that they will probably forget until it's too late.


It's not because they're trying to be flippant and forgetful. It's just a brain thing, ya know?

One Reddit user asked:

What are some things that a teenager should avoid?

and undeveloped brains were actually one of the reasons that came up when talking about why some of this should be avoided. Like one person said, we're not all "squares" we've just been there and dealt with the consequences.

That was possibly the squarest thing I've ever typed, and I fully stand by it.


Life Already Started

Addiction, debt and pregnancy are the big ones. But avoid waiting for life to begin. It already has. Go in some positive direction even if you're not sure it's the exact right one.

- picksandchooses

One easy way to start this is to do one thing that's new, or makes you feel uncomfortable each day.

Even if that's walking into a store and saying "hi'' to the cashier before they say it to you. Or go out in a shirt that you wouldn't normally do.

Or post something anonymously on Reddit about how YOU are starting to write a cyberpunk book, even if it's only for you and no one else will ever read it.

One small step each day. Never skip the day, always take that one tiny, almost immeasurable step. Because in a month, you'll be able to look back and see that you've actually made a ton of progress.

- Weary_Enthusiasm

The Dentist

ryan reynolds dentist GIF Giphy

Avoid skipping the dentist. Even if money is tight professional cleanings and preventive maintenance will pay dividends later in life.

- GrowBigBuds

A horror story to prove the point: I caught a bad bad spell of depression some years ago and stopped taking care of myself in many ways, including flossing and going to the dentist.

I ended up having to have surgery to hollow up and fill out a completely rotten tooth, costing insane amounts of money. I was in so much pain. To make matters worse, there was a SURPRISE NERVE in one of the roots of my teeth meaning they nearly drilled while the area wasn't completely anesthetized.

I've brushed my teeth religiously since, but sometimes we still find surprise holes from that time where I couldn't take care of myself for a few months. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH!

- RustyCopal

30F here and I've got two fake teeth on a partial denture from neglecting my teeth and not going to the dentist in my late teens early 20s. Biggest regret in my life 100%

- wwlddarm7

Don't Wait To Figure It Out

Procrastination. Not as big as the other ones but my God, procrastination can get so bad and affect you so horribly if you let it get out of hand.

- Sw3at3rboi

Yes. Teenagers need to hack themselves and figure out their own personal formula for productivity. Pays off bigtime.

- pastdense

Yes. Nip this one in the bud now. It is so much harder to develop a work ethic as an adult.

- dahhhkness

Approval Online

Social media and seeking others approval. That sh*t will destroy them for years.

Cyber bullying can leave a huge emotional impact on teens that give them mental health issues or body image issues. I know people that have taken into their thirties to recover from these kinds of things.

- bigtrav118

This terrifies me about my two kids. I was bullied as a kid in elementary and then high school. I had the ability to go home and forget about all of them and escape by playing video games.

F*ck me, kids these days don't get an escape.

- Blahyaddayadda24


YES. I'm 28. I've had to get off of all social media aside from Reddit because of this.

My life took a drastic turn a couple of years ago. I've struggled since but have managed to find a small apartment for myself and my daughter. My boyfriend moved in right before covid hit and it's cramped.

Watching friends my age or younger close on their homes, go on vacations, lose weight, get married, etc. has done a number on my mental health. I compare myself constantly and it's driven me to completely hate myself.

Shutting out a lot of social media has helped a little because I'm not constantly shoving these things into my psyche, but there's a lot of things I have to undo mentally in order to be comfortable with myself.

I remind my 17 year old sister all the time that it's awful. Coincidentally, she is actually doing a paper on it right now and has "interviewed" me in order to have a real life source.

Thank goodness she isn't that big on it. It really is like mental poison.

- gnarlybetty

No Drugs ... Yet 

Drugs. absolutely Drugs. Teenage brains aren't developed enough to handle that kind of dopamine

- nargakenzo

I'm pro-weed, pro-psychedelics, pro-legalize everything; and yet I still want the recreational age for all of that to be 21.

Brains need to fully developed before you start soaking em in fun juice.

- AmbivalentAhole

As someone who did harder drugs as a teen this one would be at the top for me.

It permanently f*cked me up, body, mind and all. It's been 8 year since I quit and I've actually continued to decline even more since I stopped.

We're not being squares. A lot of us have been there and done that already. I wish I'd listened.


- DreamApocalypse

Hearing Loss Sucks

Deaf GIF by memecandy Giphy

Really loud music, I mean the kind at a concert front row loud. Tinnitus really sucks.

- iamacomputerperson

And not only tinnitus. I damaged my ability to hear certain frequencies when I was a teenager by going to loud punk gigs. It makes it really hard to hear people speaking over background noise. Doesn't sound too major, but it makes socializing in a pub or club or public place that bit more challenging. I guess I lost the frequency range that distinguishes speech from general noise.

When you're a young adult, you do a lot of your socializing in such environments, so don't add an extra challenge to your social life.

- 99thLuftballon

Don't Fall For The Fakes

Fake friends. It's honestly better to have no friends than people who gossip about you and make snide remarks to you. I know everyone says this but you will find your people.

- upsidedownaliyah

I agree with you... but to a teenager, no friends is infinitely worse than bad friends. Sitting alone in the cafeteria or in the hall?

Transferring from one group to another is hard.... but that's the key.

- pastdense

As someone who put up with being the butt of my "friend"-group's jokes for years... I can say that cutting out the toxic people in my life has helped me out tremendously.

Keeping a small group of high quality friends, is so much less stressful.

Work and hobbies will help you find like minded people in my experience.

- WindJDM

You're Probably Pretty Average

Avoid self destructive attitudes is a good one.

Probably 95% of people alive are decently attractive. You can lose that extra 15 pounds, you can shave those unwanted hairs.

If you look in the mirror and think you are below average.. you are probably closer to average.. which is fine! Average people are perfectly good looking enough.

If you look in the mirror and think you are absolutely hideous.. maybe you are slightly below average.. but truly ugly people are rare and more often then not they have 13 out of 10 charisma and it makes up for it.

You're Fine.

- Bolsmackie43

Time Gives You Time To Discover

My mom found her dream job in her thirties and my current stepdad in her fifties.

Don't be too concerned with whether the things you're doing now is gonna be forever. Do what you can to open doors for yourself, but don't feel forced to think you need to know who or what you should spend the rest of your life with at this point.

Time gives you time to discover more things. Discover more things, and eventually you'll find your way - even if you didn't realize it. Stop thinking in today and forever. You got all the time to figure it out. Just get yourself a solid foundation and explore.

Except for drugs. Don't explore things that you could get addicted to for the rest of your life.

- RustyCopal

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