Being a teenager is tough. But teens who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) -- as well as those who are still coming to terms with their sexuality -- often have it much tougher still.
Bullying, teasing, harassment, and sometimes physical violence are not uncommon parts of an LGBT teen's daily life at school. In 2009, eight out of 10 LGBT students said they had been verbally harassed at school. In the same survey, nearly half of LGBT students reported that they...
Hint: It's all about healthy self-esteem for yourself and respect for the other person.
Ask the Right Question First
Instead of wondering if someone likes you, you should first ask yourself if you really like them, says psychotherapist Elsbeth Martindale, PsyD.
Her advice: Take it slow. Check out the person's values -- do they match yours?
“Look for someone who matches you,” Martindale says. She wrote a book called Things to Know Before You say "Go" for her teen clients who were getting their 'hearts stomped on," she says.
Remember, this should be fun. If you’re not having fun -- and more importantly, if you're not feeling good about yourself with someone -- then walk away.
You may be much happier on your own! There is nothing wrong with being single, even if everyone else seems to be coupling up. It can be your healthiest, most fun option.
Clues, Good and Bad
What if you really do like that person and you're trying to figure out if they like you back?
"Trust your gut," says Didi Zahariades, MA, a teen life coach in Portland, Ore.
Don't overthink it. Don't spend too much time counting how many times she looked at you during class or what his text that just said “Hey,” might mean.
“If you’re spending a lot of time trying to figure out if this person likes you or doesn’t, then he probably doesn’t,” Zahariades says.
Instead, consider this:
Often or not? How often do you hear from them? Does she always wait for you after calculus or grab the seat next to you at lunch? If they're consistently showing you attention, you’re hearing from them often, "that may mean something,” Zahariades says.
Focused or scattered? Does he stand and talk with you for more than a minute or so in the hall? Does she stay there even when her best friends pass by? If she keeps hanging out with you, that may mean something.
Eye contact. This one can go both ways. If someone makes a lot of eye contact with you, that can be a good sign. But some people who are really shy find it tough to make eye contact, so you can't be sure about that.
Getting personal. What do they talk to you about? Are they asking about what’s going on with you -- your classes, your after-school job, or your plans after graduation? Are they hinting at getting together by asking about what you're doing this weekend?