Being a teenager can be difficult, since you're dealing with hormones, higher expectations, and the process of finding your place in the world. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the teen years. If you're looking to have enjoyable teenage years, there are many things you can do—big and small—that can make a huge difference!

Part 1
Part 1 of 4:

Setting Realistic Expectations

  1. 1
    Understand that there's no one way to "be a teen" and no set-in-stone way to enjoy your teenage years. Everyone is different, especially in their teenage years. There's really no "way" to enjoy being a teenager except for the "way" you make on your own! Some teens prefer to spend their teenage years with friends, while others prefer to study and work; some prefer to be quiet wallflowers, while others are loud and don't care if they stand out. Saying that there's any one way to enjoy your teenage years is wrong—this article is only a guideline and doesn't need to be followed to the letter!
    • What is enjoyable for you may not be for someone else, and that is OK. Some things are commonly enjoyed by teens, but not by all. Turning 13 does not mean suddenly you wake up and everything has changed.[1]
  2. 2
    Avoid media-based expectations, good or bad. Being a teenager is not necessarily any easier or more difficult than any other life stage. Although adolescence is a time of great change, this does not necessarily mean it will be the most difficult time of your life. If you get wound up with concerns that this new life stage will be fraught with ever-present drama, the truth is that this is just another stage of your life which you will get through as much as you did in toddlerhood long ago.
    • Remember the media presents teenagers inaccurately. Teens and their lives are often very narrowly portrayed on TV, movies, and literature. Don't base your ideas on popular (or once-popular) dramas about teen life.
    • Likewise, be careful of comparing yourself or others to actors in teenage dramas. Often these actors are in their 20s, sometimes even 30s. They're often unusually talented with their hair and makeup professionally done. The homemade videos on YouTube that feature actual teenagers are far more realistic and accurate than the movies and TV.
  3. 3
    Realize that the teen years are not all alike. There are 6 years between 13 and 19, and there are a lot of differences between them. Middle school is different from high school, which is different from beginning the adult work world, college, or trade school. The awkward, lanky 13 year old may be a confident military-bound individual at 18.
  4. Advertisement
Part 2
Part 2 of 4:

Developing Yourself

  1. 1
    Develop your sense of self, focusing more on your own thoughts and goals, instead of what other people think.[2] For lots of people, the teenage years are full of worries—stop paying so much attention to them! Many worries are based on what other people think (e.g., "What if they don't like me after this?" or "What if my mom gets mad that I don't study medicine like she wants?"), rather than what you think. Go ahead and do what you want to do, without factoring in the opinion of others; dye your hair a wacky color, wear what's comfortable and not what's trendy, call your crush, choose your own path in life, and don't worry about what others think of your choices! At the end of the day, it's your life, so live it the way you want to.
    • Of course, there are some limits to this. You may want to speak your mind, for example, and it's okay to have your opinions, but you don't want to offend people or start an argument in an inappropriate place. Some social rules, such as not hitting annoying people, are important to follow. Learn when it's important to listen to social rules, and not what you think.
  2. 2
    Discover and engage in your interests.[3] When you were younger, people always told you to find hobbies, and chances are, you have at least a few basic interests that you can engage in. Use these to your advantage. Can you pick something you want to practice and dedicate more time towards (e.g., playing an instrument), or delve into a subcategory of your interest (for example, moving from simple writing to writing poetry or literature)? Don't be afraid to try new things. It's never too late to check out a new interest, and, who knows, maybe you'll even find your life passion by doing so!
    • Consider "balancing" your interests so that you have a wide variety. For example, if your biggest hobby is computer programming, maybe try a more art-oriented hobby like painting, or learn a language. Just because you're a "tech nerd" or an "art geek" doesn't mean your interests have to stick firmly in that area. It's boring to have interests that are only in one area.
    • Explore your style and your interests. Now is the time to experiment; don't feel the need to stick to just one niche. From fashion to hobbies to music and movies, you can explore all kinds of possible interests. Don't feel bound by tradition or labels: if you like to dress like someone who likes rock music, and you really love country music, that's fine. Do what you enjoy.
  3. 3
    Let go of your prejudices. Even if you think you're not prejudiced, sometimes negative thoughts about groups of people can root in your mind. Buried prejudices against religious groups, racial groups, LGBT groups, and so on, can taint your ability to see the world clearly; let go of these. Nobody is exactly like a stereotype, and seeing groups of people as "just like those other ones" inhibits knowing people for who they truly are.
  4. 4
    Work on your work ethic. Yes, school can be very hard work, but in your teenage years, it matters more than ever. What you accomplish in your teen years may determine in large part your opportunities in your adult life. Dedicate some time to studying and do your best to do well in middle school and high school. Aim to get things done as soon as possible instead of procrastinating. Being well organized is one of the best qualities you should strive for. Learn how to prioritize, whether it's with school, work, or any extracurricular activities you may be involved in. Boost your studying skills (and even make it fun!). It may not seem enjoyable, but it's helpful later on in life, and some teens—not only the nerds—do find it enjoyable!
    • You don't have to be an all-A's student that's taking only Honors or AP-level classes, but you should at least do your best to pass the classes you're in. Avoid slacking off, as this hurts your grades. That said, do your best to recognize when you know something's not right or you need help. Do not struggle alone!
    • Don't rush on your homework because you want to hang out with friends—work on it to learn new things. A largely forgotten fact is that school is meant for learning, not trapping you in a classroom for a few hours each day.
  5. 5
    Avoid rushing to figure out who you are. Your teenage years are hectic, ever-changing, and chances are, your interests will constantly shift and change. Nothing about yourself is set in stone, even at the end of your teenage years. You will continue to grow and develop as a person as long as you're alive. There's no need to figure yourself out and decide what you are at your age. Anyone who tells you that you need to figure out what college you're going to or what you plan for the future is wrong. Even if you think you've decided on what you're going to do, don't be surprised if your plans change—you never know where life is going to take you.
  6. Advertisement
Part 3
Part 3 of 4:

Developing Relationships

  1. 1
    Work to improve your social skills. Some teens have trouble with social interaction, with the reasons behind it varying. Since social interaction is necessary in order to succeed, it's important to learn how to cope with shyness and social anxiety. Consider working with a friend or a family member of close age to develop your social skills. It may not replace new social exchanges, but it's good practice.
    • If you have a disability like autism or ADHD, don't assume that you're doomed to be bad at socializing. People with disabilities can be charming in unique ways, especially if you work on being kind and developing good habits.
  2. 2
    Refuse to judge people for harmless traits. While you may feel tempted to write someone off as "annoying" or "difficult," this can result in you judging them unfairly. Work on being accepting and patient when someone is different in ways you don't expect.
    • Keep in mind that there may be something going on that you don't know about. A "clingy" guy may have been abandoned by a parent during childhood. A "hyper" girl may have ADHD and be struggling to keep friendships. Try to be understanding.
    • Remember that just because you've had a bad experience with a person doesn't mean that they're a bad person.

    Tip: If someone is truly bothering you, it's okay to speak up gently. Say "It bothers me when you do X. Would you please do Y?" Use a gentle and positive tone to let them know that you're not criticizing them, just asking for a small adjustment.

  3. 3
    Be polite towards others, including people you don't know well. Every day, you'll likely see people you don't know, whether it be in school or out in public. It may seem funny to make fun of those that you don't know, but it's rude, and word will probably get back to them eventually. Later in life, you'll have to work with people you don't know; it's best to be polite towards strangers. If you can manage it, be friendly as well. It's appreciated by those around you, even if you don't see it.
    • Don't laugh at people when they make mistakes like dropping or spilling things. Instead, offer help. This can help turn around a bad day, even if they don't show their appreciation outright.
  4. 4
    Find a few good friends. You don't need to be at the top of the social food chain and know everybody at school, but you should at least try to have a few loyal friends throughout your teenage years. Friendships are a good place to build your social skills, and building stable relationships with others can help you determine what you want in friendships and romantic relationships you may pursue.[4] And most importantly of all, life is simply easier and brighter with friends. Make sure your friends make you feel good about yourself and don't get you in trouble—you want to enjoy your teen years, not spend them miserable because of your "friends"!
    • Find friends who make you feel good and inspire you to be your best.
    • Hang out with friends you really like, and worry less about maintaining relationships with people who don't improve your life. Friends come and go, and you may have different types and numbers of friends. That's okay. How many friends you have isn't important; it's the quality of the friends you do have that matters, as cliché as that sounds!
    • If you struggle to find friends, try looking in areas where people are similar to you. Are you LGBT, for example? See if there's a teen LGBT group in your city, or if your school has a GSA that you could join. If you prefer writing over socializing, see if you can find writer's groups. If you're autistic, try seeking out other autistic people to befriend.
    • Try going on social media if you can't find friends face-to-face. However, be very careful with this. Online friendships develop much differently than face-to-face friendships, and many people online are not who they say they are—you never know what goes on behind the screen. Sometimes it may not be even an actual human you are talking to. Exercise caution when making friends online, and never agree to meet up with somebody in private. Avoid giving out personal information to people you meet online unless you are sure that they can be trusted. It is best to meet people in real life first before meeting them on the internet.
  5. 5
    Take romance slowly. Some—but not all—teens are interested in romantic relationships, and may want to find a partner. If you get into a relationship, take it slowly and communicate with your partner well. This leads to the healthiest relationships in the long run. You don't need to be tethered to your partner, either. Make sure the relationship allows the both of you to have your own friends and interests. You don't need to rush into anything before you're ready.[5]
    • Make peace with things when a relationship doesn't work out. It's normal for it to hurt for a while. Remember that just because the relationship wasn't right doesn't mean that you're a bad person; sometimes two people are just a bad fit. And if you did do something wrong, you can learn from it for next time. It can be okay.
    • Be wary of abusive relationships. If you feel like you have to constantly walk on eggshells around your partner to try and avoid them getting angry at you or hitting you, or if you can't talk to anybody else without your partner accusing you of cheating, these are huge red flags that the relationship is unhealthy and that you need to get out of it! The same applies for toxic friendships.
  6. 6
    Keep good relations with your family as much as possible.[6] Family members—especially parents—probably worry about you during your teenage years. Many teenagers become sullen, withdrawn, and stop valuing family as much as they used to. Try to avoid this. Family is one of the most important connections in your life—it's the building blocks for all relationships you develop, whether they're friendships, romantic relationships, or a family that you choose to have later on in life. And plus, you see them every day—why not make it nice to spend time with them?
    • You don't have to be best friends with everyone in your family, but be kind to them and spend time with them once in a while; play a video game with your sister, help your brother with his writing, offer to go on a walk with your mom, or play a board game with your dad. Don't just stay in your room all day and only see your family at meals.
    • Improve your relationship with your siblings. It's fine to argue and bicker with siblings here and there, but remember that your sibling relationship is usually one of the longest in your life. Siblings can be great allies, mentors, and friends, not just now, but also when you're old and grey.
    • Watch out for abusive family members. Your family can be some of the closest friends you have, but they can also negatively impact your life. If your parents constantly make you feel down, they may be emotionally abusing you. If your brother constantly hits you, that's a sign of physical abuse. Usually, talking things out with a close friend or confronting your abuser can lessen the hurt, but know when to report child abuse.
    • Keep close to your extended family, such as your cousins, too; make an effort to spend time with them when you can. You probably don't see your extended family often, so take advantage of the time you do have to hang out with them!
  7. Advertisement
Part 4
Part 4 of 4:

Helping Others

  1. 1
    Consider volunteer work. You may not be interested in volunteering or attaining a job—that's okay. Helping out others is only a recommendation. However, many volunteers report that their work makes them feel good; some volunteer work can even help with self-development.[7] Consider the benefits and drawbacks of volunteer work or jobs, and use this to decide whether you'll help others out.
  2. 2
    Avoid thinking that you "can't help anybody". You don't have to get a job when you're a teenager—and when you're under a certain age, it's nearly impossible to find one—but that doesn't mean that you're unable to help out! Consider volunteering, doing odd jobs for others, or helping someone to learn something they don't know. This can do wonders to help other people! It will be helpful for future employment after college to have a job or volunteer so you can have valuable work experience. .
    • Volunteering doesn't have to happen outside of the home. If you have an internet connection, you can volunteer online—for example, editing wikiHow articles about your favorite subjects.
  3. 3
    Build off of your interests and talents. Are you interested in animals? Volunteer at an animal shelter or collect supplies for your local non-profit shelter. Are you good with people? Find a job or volunteer work that's oriented around talking to others. Can you design complex web pages with minimal effort? Offer to help others learn web design. Take your talents and interests and find something you can do based around those. It can be a great help to volunteer or work, and have fun at the same time!
  4. 4
    Consider tutoring younger kids. If one of your talents is that you're an all-A's scholar, see if there's a program at your school that allows you to tutor struggling students. If not, try asking families that have younger kids or advertising a tutoring service—you may get some great opportunities!
    • It's okay to turn down a tutoring offer. If you can't tutor the neighbor's son because he's too loud and disruptive, or if you aren't good at a subject that somebody needs help with, it's okay to politely say, "I'm sorry, I can't do that job" or "I don't think your child and I work together very well."
    • You can either choose to get paid for tutoring or do it for free. If you do choose to make it a job, however, don't overcharge. Few people will hire you if you charge ten dollars an hour!
  5. 5
    Participate in fundraisers and activities for causes you support. Some organizations will host activities to donate to certain causes—for example, walks to support cancer research collect money and donate it to groups that do cancer research. Other activities seek to spread awareness of illnesses, or acceptance of disabled people. Consider participating in these.
    • Be sure you know what group the activity is supporting. Some groups are well known for being surrounded by controversy. Do careful research on an organization before participating in any of their events. You don't want to support something that causes more harm than good.
  6. 6
    Do things that make others happy. You don't need to participate in giant volunteer organizations to make a difference. Consider doing basic things to help people have a brighter day—compliment your classmate's poem, tell someone they look fantastic, help somebody pick up their things if they drop them, hold the door open for others who are struggling to carry things, and so forth. Something that seems little to you can turn someone else's entire day around. Get out there, and help to make the world a better place by making others' lives more enjoyable!
  7. Advertisement

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I know what my passion is?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Your passion is what you love and enjoy doing - what never seems to get old. If you don't do anything that makes you feel that way, then get out and explore new things, especially things out of your comfort zone. Try new activities, take classes on subjects you've never taken before, and accept invites to things you're not familiar with. You can also delve deeper into a branch of an activity you already enjoy (for example, if you enjoy drawing pictures, try out photography). And remember, there's no rush to know what you enjoy right away - just stay open to opportunities and don't be afraid of trying something new.
  • Question
    Am I a teen if I am twelve?
    Luna Rose
    Top Answerer
    Not quite yet! You'd be considered a "preteen," since you're not yet 13. Of course, you can follow these steps even if you're not a teen yet.
  • Question
    How can I stop being so boring?
    Top Answerer
    If you find yourself to be boring, it will because you yourself are bored. Find ways to cure your boredom, such as taking up a new hobby, volunteering, standing up for a cause, joining clubs, or exploring new places. Do what you enjoy. You may consider yourself to be boring because you aren't being honest with yourself and enjoying the things you like. Even if you are taking part in activities that others like, if you don't like it, then you will be bored. Focus more on being yourself and doing what you like, rather than trying to appear interesting to others. If you do this, you will naturally be perceived as interesting as you are showing off what you are into and being your authentic self. You'll also be a lot happier in the process.

About This Article

Ashley Pritchard, MA
Co-authored by:
School Counselor
This article was co-authored by Ashley Pritchard, MA. Ashley Pritchard is an Academic and School Counselor at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Ashley has over 3 years of high school, college, and career counseling experience. She has an MA in School Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health from Caldwell University and is certified as an Independent Education Consultant through the University of California, Irvine. This article has been viewed 190,638 times.
36 votes - 85%
Co-authors: 49
Updated: January 10, 2024
Views: 190,638
| Youth
Article SummaryX

To enjoy being a teenager, set realistic expectations for yourself and try to avoid media-based expectations for yourself of how these years “should” go, because everyone experiences being a teen differently. Whenever possible, avoid making decisions based on what other people might think, and instead chase after what interests you, like music or robotics! Additionally, be friendly to people you don’t know, but focus on cultivating a few close friendships with the people who make you feel the best. For tips on how to take what you do well and use it to help people, scroll down!

Did this summary help you?