Redditors shared insights into what teens need to know before entering the real world.

By Libby Ryan
October 09, 2020
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There is so much that teens don't learn in high school, from mental health to trusting your gut. And that's why Redditors jumped in to fill the gaps. In a thread with thousands of comments, grown ups shared their hard-won knowledge with present-day teenagers. Here are a few priceless insights any teen could use.

1. It's OK Say No

"It's ok to say no to anyone," wrote u/Purpleraven01. "Don't let anyone in your life guilt trip you into doing something you don't want to do or are uncomfortable with."

2. Trust Your Gut

"Learn to trust your gut when in strange situations," wrote u/holydumpsterfire451. "If something feels off / wrong, it probably is."

3. Be Open in Friendships

"The measure of whether someone has the potential to be a new friend of yours is not whether they like a bunch of things you like," wrote u/helicopterpurple. "It is entirely possible to become friends with people who like a ton of things you’ve never heard of, or even already decided you dislike. You are at a spot in life where a lot of your likes and dislikes are subject to change anyway."

4. Take Driving Seriously

"When you get to driving you need to realize that the laws of physics apply to you. They aren't out to get you, they're just indifferent," wrote u/faceeatingleopard. "Slow the f**k down and don't horse around, you're driving a very heavy machine at speeds we did not evolve to deal with. Be safe."

5. Shop Workers Don't Care What You Buy

"Buying anything (period supplies/condoms/meds/laxatives/etc.) for the person in your life is kind and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!" wrote u/paintedmoutainpath.

6. Focus on Mental Health

"Don't put off dealing with mental health issues. Developing unhealthy coping mechanisms for emotional issues will f*ck you up big time down the road," wrote EmbarrassedCalendar1. "If you have issues, deal with it head-on, right away. It can take time, but start the work now."

7. Approach Disagreements Thoughtfully

Redditor u/NicNoletree suggests teens learn "how to deescalate difficult situations."

For example, if a teacher says something that you learned differently, "recognize that there may be certain circumstances that you may not realize that changes something. Lead the disagreement with a saying like: excuse me, I may be wrong, but I thought/learned Y," they wrote. "This kind of phrasing does not cause the other person to be on the defensive, which can allow gentle new instruction for you, or a graceful/face-saving correction for the teacher. A situation with differing opinions doesn't have to be confrontational."

8. Admit Your Mistakes

"When you make a mistake, own up to it. People are more willing to help you when you admit you did a dumb thing. This goes for school, work, and personal life," wrote u/GreenOnionCrusader. "Forget to make a payment on a loan? Call and talk to the finance company. Mess something up on a school project? Tell your teacher and ask for a bit of leeway. Etc. People will be more likely to help you if you communicate."

9. Enjoy These Years

"While you shouldn't believe those who say these gonna be the best years of your life, try to make the most of it, to enjoy the ride," wrote u/drDjausdr.

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